World Series Rugby isn’t afraid to break the mould. In its first year, the new tournament will pioneer changes to the game to ensure spectators are entertained by fast, free-flowing, high-scoring rugby.
Announced in Perth on Tuesday, the changes to on-field play will be unique to World Series Rugby and visualised on the field to increase excitement.
World Series Rugby kicks off on May 4 with a clash between Western Force and Fiji Warriors at nib Stadium in Perth.
Western Force CEO Nick Marvin: What you will see in the World Series Rugby matches this year has the potential to revolutionise the way rugby is played, but it is only the beginning of how we are thinking about the future of this great game. All the feedback we are receiving – from diehard fans, players, officials and the wider community – is that something needs to change, and we are prepared to be the ones to lead the way.
Western Force head of elite performance Matt Hodgson: These changes will test the players and pump up the spectators in the stands. The Western Force team supports the changes and the sides coming to Perth to tackle the Force are keen to try this fast new style of play. This is what our game needs to retain supporters and thrive in the future.
Rugby legend David Campese: In Australia you can turn off and watch something else and we don’t want that. We want fans who love rugby and obviously, I am more passionate now than when I played because we have got the opportunity to do that [entertaining rugby]. In Western Australia this week, you have got Fiji, the national team, and it’s a big thing to have a competition. I think the rest of Australia has to look and see if the Force can play a style of rugby that, if it works, why can’t we play the same?
1. The Power Try– A Power Try is awarded when the play is initiated from within the try scoring team’s own 22m area and there is no break in continuity of possession by the scoring team.
However if possession changes or a penalty is awarded, then this breaks the sequence of possession for the try scoring team and normal 5 point try is earned if they score.
Coloured lights on the goal posts will alert fans to when a Power Try is “live”, “dead” or “scored”.
The Power Try play is live: green lights will run down the post
The Power Try play is dead: the green lights turn solid red
A Power Try is scored: the green lights will flash.
A Power Try offers a team the opportunity to score 9 points on conversion.
2. Rolling Subs – teams may make up to 12 player substitutions during the game, as opposed to the current 8 substitutions.
3. One-minute scrums – One minute from time of mark to completion. This puts the onus on players to keep the scrum up and encourages quick decision making to allow play to continue.
4. Faster Line Outs – lineouts will be taken as soon as the throwing team is ready – they do not have to wait for their opponent or the referee.