World Rugby BANS Springboks’ famous World Cup move

World Rugby has officially outlawed the Springboks’ famous or infamous — depending how you look at it — scrum call off a mark.

World Rugby has implemented three law changes that will come into effect on 1 July, with the aim to improve the the amusement value of the game while resolving security issues.

The World Rugby Council stated that they had approved the changes to improve ball movement, provide attacking options, and protect player welfare in a statement that was made public on Thursday afternoon.

The latest revisions primarily address the “crocodile roll” tackle technique prohibition, improved free-kick options, and offside restrictions from kicks in open play (also known as Dupont’s Law). These modifications mark the most recent iteration of World Rugby’s “Shape of the Game” action plan, which aims to expand rugby’s fan base through greater accessibility and an embrace of innovation.


Maybe the most significant changes will be to laws around free-kicks.

For free-kicks, teams can no longer opt for a scrum. Instead, they are required to tap or kick the ball to keep play moving to shorten set-piece dead time and generate more attacking possibilities.

After receiving a knock in the Springboks’ 22 against France, Damian Willemse made the audacious demand for a scrum during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal. Most fans were caught off guard by the choice, since players typically tap and run from that position or kick for distance.

But it was a calculated approach that paid off, as the Springboks were able to escape the danger zone with a free play while maintaining possession after winning a penalty from the ensuing set piece.


The offside law has been rewritten to prevent players from being put onside when the opposition catches a kicked ball and either runs five metres or passes. Offside players must now actively attempt to retreat – creating more space for the opposing team to move the ball and reducing the amount of back-and-forth ‘kick tennis’ that often slows the game.

This change will kill the loophole which saw incidents of players receiving a ball but refusing to move forwards, effectively giving them time to kick the ball downfield in a ‘king of the pitch’ style back and forth.


To ensure player safety and prevent injuries, the “crocodile roll,” a tackle technique that includes rolling or yanking a player off their feet, has been outlawed. According to World Rugby, penalizing this move emphasizes how crucial it is to tackle rugby players responsibly.

Some of the controversial practice’s season-ending and possibly career-ending leg injuries will be avoided thanks to the law.


Six closed law trials are being held by World Rugby across its competitions in addition to these legislative modifications. Events like the Pacific Nations Cup and the U20 Championship will fall under this category.

The updated red card sanction system, which permits a player substitution after 20 minutes, and the 30-second shot clock for scrum and lineout settings are features of these trials, which are available for national unions to choose from.

Further innovations include ensuring the scrum-half is not contestable at the base of a ruck or maul – increasing attacking options by allowing a mark inside the 22-metre line from a restart – and making play at lineouts more flowing by permitting the game to go on even if the ball isn’t thrown straight and there is no opposition.

World Rugby is doing a thorough evaluation that includes the legislative modifications and trials in order to address persistent problems such as inconsistent usage of technology and poor ball movement. According to World Rugby, their goal is to increase rugby’s popularity by using simplified language and presentation that will appeal to a younger audience. Specialized working groups are now investigating topics including tackle height and spectator experience.

The bundle of legal trials can be implemented by unions and competitions.

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