Super Rugby rule changes confirmed
Super Rugby will be implementing a new bonus point system in 2016 and there is also a change to penalty options after the hooter has sounded.
As expected, the four-try bonus point rule no longer applies.
Instead, sides can secure a bonus point by scoring three or more tries than their opponents. The losing bonus point rule remains unchanged, with sides who lose by seven points or fewer earning a single log point.
In addition, for the first time, sides will now be allowed to set up a line-out after the hooter has sounded.
The changes, says SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos, are designed to help Super Rugby become a more attractive product.
"These law amendments, while subtle in nature, will help Super Rugby's continuing evolution as the best provincial competition in the world," Marinos said.
"The change to the bonus point, which has been widely discussed throughout the past week as one potential innovation, has now been formally approved by the ExCo for the 2016 season.
"By implementing this change, we expect to see more attacking and competitive rugby as teams will be asked to keep their foot down for the full 80 in order to claim the try-scoring bonus point, which we have seen used to great effect in France over the past few years.
"In addition to this, permitting teams to opt for a line-out after time has expired serves to disincentive opponents from infringing and aims to reward sides that are particularly strong set-piece exponents which, when coupled with the previously mentioned changes, encourages more attacking and competitive rugby."
These law variations and game innovations were tabled in October 2015 for SANZAAR's National Unions to consult with and brief their franchises.
"It has not gone unnoticed the number of key stakeholders that have felt the need to publicly criticise SANZAAR for initiatives that were floated months ago and heavily canvassed throughout each National Union," Marinos added.
"We would never impose such fundamental changes to Super Rugby without proper consultation with stakeholders but will nevertheless continue to engage our member unions and franchises and work with all teams to continue striving for Super Rugby's ongoing improvement.
"It was also considered whether to adopt pre-2013 television match official protocol whereby the TMO could only rule on try scoring, in-goal and foul play. However following consultation with World Rugby, where we were informed they would be conducting a TMO review this year, we have decided to retain 'status quo' for 2016 and will participate fully with the review in an effort to ensure that this area of the game gets the focus and attention it deserves."