With the Rugby World Cup just a week away a number of you have been asking for clarification on a number of rules and regulations that will be in play during the tournament. We’ve been scouring our dog-eared copy of World Rugby regulations and pulled out the key points you’ll need to know.
With your “Scottish Rugby Blog Cut Out And Keep Guide To The Rules & Regulations Of The Rugby World Cup 2015” (snappy title – Ed.) you’ll be able to amaze* your friends with your in depth knowledge of compliance with Law 3.5 and maybe even make new friends** down the pub by being able to explain what happens in the event that two teams have the same number of points at the end of the Pool stage.
Do England and Wales get preferential treatment as “home” sides?
Nope. The teams for each match are designated as “Team A” (home side) and “Team B” (away side) by way of a random draw. Team A has the benefit of choosing which shirt to wear and which dressing room to use. The A and B teams have already been determined for the pool stages meaning England are likely to wear their change shirts and be consigned to the away dressing room in the opening match against Fiji.
Calling up injury replacements
Once teams have named their final 31 man squad players can only be replaced for medical or compassionate reasons. Teams must complete the relevant paperwork and send it to World Rugby along with a medical certificate where appropriate. Once signed off the replacement is not allowed to play for 48 hours. The replacement is permanent.
How many hookers and props does one team need?
Each team must name a 23 man match day squad. World Rugby Law 3.5 requires each team to name a minimum of six players who are “suitably trained and experienced” to play in the front row. The necessary number of reserve front row players must be included in the 31 man squad to cover last minute injuries to the front row players in the match day squad due to the 48 hour limit on injury replacements from outside the tournament squad.
There must be sufficient front row players to play at hooker, tight-head and loose-head and those players must be “suitably trained and experienced” in those positions so that on the first occasion a replacement is required the team can continue to play safely with contested scrums. Quite a mouthful that.
If, because of a sending off or injury, a team cannot provide enough suitably trained front row players, the match continues with uncontested scrums.
If a team does not have suitably trained front row players (we’re looking at you Wales and Australia) prior to the match so that contested scrums cannot take place the referee will order uncontested scrums. The referee will report the matter to the match organiser.
The Tournament Disputes Committee will consider any breaches of law 3.5. In the absence of any mitigating circumstances failure to comply with the rules will result in:
- Forfeiture of all match points for that fixture (including bonus points).
- Possible financial penalties.
With Wales and Australia only naming two recognised hookers in their tournament squads it seems likely that this issue will raise its ugly head at some point. Expect furious debate and doctors notes worthy of Dr Nick Riviera. Keep an eye out for reports of “skin failure”.
Points in the pools
Points mean prizes progression from the pools. The following points are awarded for each pool match:
|4 or more tries||1 Point|
|Loss by 7 points or less||1 Point|
It’s worth noting those “bonus points”, familiar from most rugby competition formats apart from the Six Nations. Scotland will need to target 4 tries or more against Japan and the USA to give them the best chance of progressing from the pool. Keeping any loss to South Africa to under 7 points might also come in handy.
What happens if teams are tied on points at the end of the pool?
If two or more teams are tied on points at the end of the pool the following criteria are applied until one of the teams comes out on top:
- The winner of the match between the two tied teams.
- The team with the best points difference across all pool matches.
- The team which has the best difference between tries scored and tries conceded.
- The team which has score most points in all its pool matches.
- The team which has scored the most tries in all its pool matches.
- The team which was higher placed in the World Rugby Rankings as of the 12 October 2015.
What happens if a knockout match ends in a draw?
The same criteria applies for all knockout matches including the final.
After the end of the mach both teams must remain on the pitch (so no time to pop to the loo – although substitutes are allowed if any are left). Following a break of five minutes extra time will be played for a period of 10 minutes each way with a five minute break. The referee tosses a coin to determine the team that will kick off and direction of play. Team B’s captain gets to call it. The winning captain can either:
- Nominate to kick off, therefore the other team must choose direction of play.
- Nominate their preferred direction of play, therefore the other team must kick off.
If the score is still tied after extra time then 10 minutes of sudden death are played. Teams swap ends and whichever team kicked off the first half of extra time also kicks off sudden death. During this period the first team to score any points shall be declared the winner.
If the score remains tied it’s time for a kicking competition. Each team nominates five kickers from the players remaining on the pitch at the end of sudden death. No substituted players (including blood substitutes) or players in the sin bin at the end of sudden death can be selected.
The referee will toss a coin to determine who kicks first. Team B gets to call the toss and the winning captain will choose which team kicks first. World Rugby pre-determines the end where the kicking contest will take place in the interests of “best broadcast coverage”.
The five players from each team will place kick from three different areas, all on the 22 metre line.
- Directly in front of the posts
- On the 15 metre line on the left hand side of the posts
- On the 15 metre line on the right hand side of the posts
The first players kick from the first area. The second players kick from the second area. The third players kick from the third area. The fourth players kick from the first area. The fifth players kick from the second area.
The kicking contest ends when all five players have taken their kicks and there is a clear winner or until one side is unable to equal the score of the other team with their remaining kicks.
If the scores are still tied the contest continues to sudden death. However unlike association football the same five penalty takers continue to take the kicks in the same order used in the first five kicks going progressively through the three kicking areas and repeating the process if necessary.
Players must take kicks within one minute of being handed the ball on the kicking area. Failure to do so will result in the kick being recorded as a miss. Once a player has completed his kick he must join his team mates behind the halfway line of the playing area not being used for the kicking competition.
The referee has final say as to whether a kick was successful or not but he can rely on advice from his assistants and the TMO.
The Tournament Rules can be found by clicking on this link:
The only thing we haven’t covered is abandoned, delayed and cancelled matches but those seem very unlikely.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know let us know and we’ll do our best to scour the World Rugby rules to relieve your wonderings.
* We cannot guarantee you’re friends will be “amazed”.
** We cannot guarantee you won’t be punched or thrown out of the pub