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Global Law Trials

World Rugby Global Law Trials (GLTs)
Welcome to the 1st Match Official Development Send Out for the 2017-18 season. Detailed in this edition are the Global Law Trials (GLTs) that will be applied to all games in England at all levels from the 1st August 2017.

For ease of understanding and to ensure that the full set of Global Law Trials is clear, we have detailed below all these Laws along with guidance notes where applicable.

Clips illustrating the GLTs are available on the World Rugby website.

Click here for World Rugby laws website – click on Global Law Trials 2017 tab

The information in this send out is provided for you to action and distribute far and wide, to include clubs, coaches, players etc. to encourage and grow the relationships between all parties and to generate better understanding of what we are all trying to do. Although informal in nature this is a valuable piece in the communication jigsaw.

Contact us at:

Yours in ref’ing,Michael D Patz RFU Match Official Development Manager



1. Definitions - Possession

This happens when a player is carrying the ball (or attempting to bring it under control) or the team has the ball in its control; for example the ball in one half of a scrum or ruck is in that team’s possession.
Guidance Notes: The ball needs to be in close proximity to the player.

2. 2017 Law Book

3.6 Number of Players – The Team
Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.

Guidance Notes: This also includes an HIA assessment or blood bin.

Community game: When teams start with less than fifteen players the referee may take a different approach following discussions with both captains. For example, a team starting a game with thirteen players and not able to provide a fully trained front row from the outset would not be expected to play with eight forwards and five backs at each scrum.

3. 2017 Law Book

5.7 (e) Time
If a penalty is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player, the referee allows the throw-in to be taken and play continues until the next time the ball becomes dead.
To end the half, the ball must be tapped before the kick to touch.

Guidance Notes: Referees to continue to call time on and off. A team can however kick the ball dead over the dead ball line/touch in goal line to end the match. If a time keeper is appointed to continue with his role.

4. 2017 Law Book
8.1 (a) Advantage
When there are multiple penalty infringements by the same team, the referee may allow the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous of the penalty marks.

Guidance Notes: If a yellow card(s) are issued this will be done before the captain chooses the most advantageous position.

5. 2017 Law Book
9.A.1 Method of Scoring
Penalty Try. If a player would probably have scored a try but for foul play by an opponent, a penalty try is awarded. No conversion is attempted.
Value: 7 points
Guidance Notes: A TMO or AR may intervene up until the game has restarted.


Amended Tackle 15.4 (c) The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their side of the tackle gate.

Guidance Notes: None.


Law 16: Amended Ruck Law
A ruck commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground (tackled player, tackler). At this point the offside line is created. A player on their feet may use their hands to pick up the ball as long as this is immediate. As soon as an opposition player arrives no hands can be used.

Guidance Notes: The “one man” ruck only applies after a tackle and that normal ruck law applies to all other situations e.g. player voluntarily going to ground, ball on ground in open play etc. The offside line is formed when a player from either team arrive over the ball.

Law 16.4 : Other Ruck Offences
A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck. Sanction: Penalty kick
The player can only hook it in a backwards motion.
Guidance Notes: None.


Law 18 Definition Mark
To make a mark a player must have one or both feet on or behind that player’s 22-metre line and catch a ball that has reached the plane of the 22-metre line.
Guidance Notes: None.


Law 19 Touch Definition
If the ball has passed the plane of touch when it is caught, then the catcher is not deemed to have taken the ball into touch.
If the ball has not passed the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up, then the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.
If a player jumps and knocks the ball back into the playing area (or if that player catches the ball and throws it back into the playing area) before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, play continues regardless of whether the ball reaches the plane of touch.
Guidance Notes: Passed includes reached.

11. 2017 Law Book

Law 19.1(c) No Gain in Ground
If a player, with one or both feet on or behind the 22-metre line, picks up the ball, which was outside the 22, or catches the ball in front of the 22-metre line and kicks it directly into touch from within the 22, then that player has taken the ball back inside the 22, so there is no gain in ground.
Delete 19.1(e) and re-letter subsequent paragraphs accordingly.
Guidance Notes: A player in the field of play, who plays a ball that has reached the touchline, and which subsequently lands in touch, is deemed to have taken the ball into touch.


20.5 Throwing the ball into the scrum
No signal from referee.
The scrum must be stable and there must be no delay once the ball has been presented to the scrum.
Guidance Notes: The scrum half must ensure the scrum is stable before throwing in the ball.


20.6 (d) How the scrumhalf throws in the ball
The scrum-half must throw the ball in straight, but is allowed to align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing them to stand a shoulder width towards their side of the middle line.
Guidance Notes: Referees to ensure the scrum half is standing square to the scrum.
Reminder - Think Player Safety
If a scrum collapses – blow the whistle IMMEDIATELY
DO NOT allow play to continue if there is ANY chance of risk to players

1 For Action
Should you have any questions in relation to law trials or application, please contact our dedicated e-mail service: For action by - Society Training Officers to factor into training events and publication to all members
Updating Key Roles
RFU Handbook 2017/18 Further to previous communications, the RFU Handbook for 2017/2018 is now live and downloadable HERE.
With AGMs taking place across the country this summer now is the time to make sure key roles within your society are up to date on GMS, as this is where the data for the handbook is drawn. Are details on your chair, secretary, treasurer and training officer correct? Please note that the RFU Handbook is effective from 1 August, 2017
For action by - Society Secretary to ensure key roles are updated on GMS
Law 20 Striking after the throw-in.
Once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel, any front row player may use either foot to try to win possession of the ball. One player from the team who put the ball in must strike for the ball. Sanction: Free-kick
Guidance Notes: A strike must happen immediately. Any part of the lower leg from the knee to the foot - including the knee and heel may be used.
20.9 (b) Handling in the scrum - exception
Allow the number eight to pick the ball from the feet of the second-rows.
Guidance Notes: The number eight can only pick the ball from the second row not the front row and this has to be done from where they are positioned before the scrum feed.
16. 2017 Law Book
Law 22.9 (b) Defending Player in In-goal
If a player with one or both feet on or behind the goal line picks up the ball from within the field of play, or catches the ball in front of the goal line, that player has taken possession of the ball in the field of play.
Delete 22.9(c) and re-letter subsequent paragraphs accordingly.
Guidance Notes: None.
17. 2017 Law Book
Law 22.9 (d) Defending Player in In-goal
If a player with one or both feet on or behind the dead ball line picks up or catches a ball that has not reached the dead ball line, or touch-in-goal line, that player is deemed to have made the ball dead.
Delete 22.9(e).
Guidance Notes: None.
At the recent RFRU Board meeting it was reported that 1728 referees had been recorded as having completed the Online Concussion Module. This is less than half of the currently recorded active referees The RFRU Board have asked to remind all officials, through their Societies, that the module is an important part of increasing the knowledge of all match officials to understand the significance of head injuries. . Therefore please make a major effort in the off-season to increase the take-up in the preparation for the new season; click here now to visit the Headcase website
For action by - Society Training Officers to factor into training events and publication to all members
2 For Information
National Panel Update
We are delighted to welcome 7 Referees onto the National Panel for the start of the 2017/18 season; all have been put through a testing period during the previous season and have demonstrated the quality needed to be a success. We have a good mix of youth and experience, youngsters Harry & George joining former players Ben Russell and James O’Brien. We are also delighted to be able to select referees from each of the four Divisional Teams, and would like to thank both the Divisions & Referees Societies listed for their work thus far on the development of this group of officials.
Luke Davies, South East Division – London Referees Society James O’Brien, North Division – Manchester & District Referees Society Ben Rayner, North Division – South Yorkshire Referees Society Benjamin Russell, South West Division – Devon Referees Society George Selwood, Midlands Division - Hertfordshire Referees Society Harry Walbaum, North Division – North Yorkshire Referee Society Adam Wookey, South West Division – Dorset & Wilts Referees Society
In addition the following are also joining our team, Nick Marshall and Matt Shales, who were seconded to the Panel last season, will be joining as Assistant Referees, together with;
James Davies – South East Division - London Referees Society Hayden Sarjeant – Midlands Division - Warwickshire Referees Society Peter Stentiford – North Division – North Yorkshire Referees Society Dave Philpot – South West Division - Devon Referees Society Greg Dawson – North Division - Northumberland Referee Society
Referee Coaches;
Iain Mitchell – South East Division – Sussex Referee Society Fred Howard – North Division – Manchester Referee Society
Match Observers;
Mike Bebbington, Midlands Division – East Midlands Referees Society David Morgan, South East Division – London Referees Society
For publication to all members