RFL announces rule changes for new season

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THE RFL has announced details of a series of new and amended rules which will apply across all domestic competitions including Super League, Super League Academy, Co-operative Championships and community rugby league matches in the 2012 season.

The rule changes come into force on Boxing Day and have been approved by the RFL Council following proposals from the RFL’s Laws Committee, a body comprising past and present players, coaches and administrators that was formed earlier this year.

The most noticeable changes will see the number of interchanges permitted during a game drop from 12 to 10, with the number of interchanges allowed in Super League Academy games dropping even further to eight.

From 2012 onwards, a player who comes into contact with a corner flag during general play, whilst in possession of the ball, will no longer be deemed to be ‘in-touch’.

“The objectives of the changes are to ensure that rugby league retains its place as the most exciting team sport in the country,” said RFL chief executive Nigel Wood, who chairs the Laws Committee. “Rugby League prides itself on being a fast paced, entertaining sport and these amendments will ensure that remains the case.

“The Laws Committee was set up with precisely this idea in mind and will continue to analyse the rules and discuss ways in which we can improve the current system to make the game the most entertaining spectacle it can be. I am confident that the 2012 season will be one of the most exciting seasons to date.”

Further changes will see match officials instructed to adopt a more lenient approach to players who carry on playing after the referee has called “held” in a tackle.

Instead of awarding a penalty, referees will now instruct players to return to the position on the pitch where the call was initially made and play the ball.

The remaining changes will allow players to use a drop-kick method when attempting to score a goal following a try and new interpretations of touch-in-goal and dead-in-goal scenarios implemented.

The community game at Tier 3 and Tier 4 will adopt the changes listed with the exception of the interchange amendment, which will be subject to local competition rules.

Read Friday’s Wakefield Express for more rugby league news.