Rugby laws to be reduced by 50%

World Rugby has commissioned a technical group to overhaul its law book, which could see half of the laws abolished.

In an attempt to simplify the laws and make the game easier to understand, the technical group will head up the ‘Laws Simplification Project’ which is set to be completed by late 2018.

This follows a number of controversial refereeing decisions in the Test series between the All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions, which prompted Steve Hansen to call for simpler laws and their correct interpretation. 

New Zealand Rugby has nominated its high-performance referee manager, Rod Hill, to help run the project, while two representatives from South Africa, one from England and three from World Rugby complete the technical group.

‘This project was about “starting from scratch and making sure it reads well” and to reshape the law book to get that as an outcome. What we’re looking for is: Is the intent of the law is still correct? Are there any glaring errors?' Hill told

He also confirmed that the revised law book will be based on school years eight and nine comprehension levels, and will be run through computer software to ensure that it complies with those levels.

Before the revision of the laws is signed off, World Rugby will send it to all the national unions for feedback.

Meanwhile, World Rugby plans to trial the seven new laws that were introduced at the U20 Championship on a global scale for the 2017-18 season.

One of the variations will see the tackler being able to play the ball from his side of the gate only, and a change to what constitutes a ruck. 

It is believed England is the only union opposed to the implementation of these laws on a trial basis.

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Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams