New World Rugby book to simplify laws

London - A new simplified law book for rugby is set to be introduced globally after it received approval at World Rugby Council.

Making rugby's laws easier to understand for all is the objective behind the simplified law book, which will be introduced globally from January 1, 2018.

Approved at the November World Rugby Council meeting, the simplified law book is designed to make the laws easier to understand while not altering the meaning of them or how the game is played.

According tom World Rugby’s official website, the book is the product of nearly two years’ work by a specially constituted group of experts and follows a comprehensive consultation and feedback process with World Rugby’s 121 member unions and all six regional associations. The eight-person group includes law experts, referees, a club coach, a sports scientist as well as a web designer/illustrator.

The result is a law book that is more logically laid out, clearer in its explanations and, with various repetitions and contradictions removed, 42 percent shorter than the current version.

World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont commented: “As our game continues to grow around the world, we continue to strive to make the sport as accessible to all. The laws can be difficult to understand for new participants and fans and the new law book goes a long way towards simplifying it and making it easier to understand for players, coaches, referees and the viewing public.

“This has been a truly collaborative effort with every union given the opportunity to contribute. I’d like to thank them and the working group for their full commitment to an extensive and important process. I believe what they have produced will make a big difference to the game as we seek to make rugby more accessible to all.”

The Law Simplification Group consists of:

Mark Harrington (World Rugby Head of Technical Services and club head coach), Tappe Henning (Scottish Rugby Union Referee Manager and former South African international referee), Dr Ross Tucker (South African sports scientist), Rod Hill (New Zealand Rugby Referee Manager), Chris Cuthbertson (Chairman RFU Laws Committee), James Fitzgerald (World Rugby Media Manager and former international referee), Adam Pearson (web designer/illustrator).

The new law book will shortly be printed and distributed in the usual way while an online version will go live on January 1.

As there is no difference in law between the two books, either version can be used for the remainder of the 2017/18 season in the northern hemisphere.

The new simplified law book is:

- Shorter. It is almost half the length of the previous book (42 percent shorter).

- Easier to read. It features plain language with fewer subordinate clauses

- More logical. The laws have been rearranged to make them more logical and sequential with contradictions and repetitions removed.

- Easier to understand. It now scores 7.26 in the Gunning Fog Index compared to 10.6 previously. Those numbers roughly equate to years of formal education required to understand the book fully.

- Easier to translate into other languages.