Captain’s referral to feature in Aotearoa

Sanzaar has confirmed a roll-out of existing and additional law variations for the Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa tournaments kicking off in the next few weeks.

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The law changes are designed to speed up the game and increase ball-in-play times, with Sanzaar CEO Brendan Morris stating that ‘Super Rugby has always prided itself on being an innovative rugby tournament … [the] aim is to improve the game for players and spectators’.

New Zealand 

Super Rugby Aotearoa will be introducing a ‘goal line dropout’ for balls enforced in goal. If an attacking player is held up over the line or knocks the ball on in the act of scoring, then play will restart with a dropout from the tryline. If the ball is kicked into the try area by an attacking team and then touched down by the defensive side, play will also restart with a goal line dropout (as opposed to a 22-metre dropout).

Another major innovation is the introduction of a ‘captain’s referral’ that can be activated in one of three scenarios: any decision made in the last five minutes of the game, an infringement in the buildup to a try, or in an instance of foul play.


In addition to last year’s law variation, Super Rugby AU will introduce two further innovative changes. For this season, a free kick will be awarded following any infringement off the kick-off and restart. This includes an enforced 30-second time limit for restarts to happen following a conversion, penalty or drop goal.

Any drawn match will now be decided by a ‘golden try’ in extra time. The first try scored in ten minutes of extra time (two halves of five minutes) will win the match automatically. If a try is not scored then the team with the most points after extra time (which could be scored from penalties or drop goals) will win.

Here’s an overview of the laws in place for the two tournaments:

Super Rugby Law Variations


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