Sanzaar has confirmed that a bonus point will be awarded for finishing three or more tries ahead of an opponent in Super Rugby.
On Tuesday, the organisation's CEO, Andy Marinos, announced that there will be several changes, the biggest of which is to the allocation of the try-scoring bonus point.
In the past, teams have been awarded an extra log point for scoring four or more tries. In 2016, teams will receive a bonus point for scoring three or more tries than their opponents. The bonus point for losing by seven or fewer will remain.
'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 [in the Top 14] over the past few years,' Marinos explained, before highlighting changes to the laws. These law variations and game innovations were tabled in October 2015 for Sanzaar's national unions to consult with and brief their franchises.
'In addition to this, permitting teams to opt for a lineout 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,' said Marinos.
'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,' he added, perhaps referring to the outcry by Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder and Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, who claimed they received nothing more than an email and weren't properly consulted.
'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.'
Marinos said that Sanzaar had also considered altering the TMO protocol.
'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.'
Also emanating from the recent ExCo meeting was the decision to refer to the organisation as Sanzaar (previously Sanzar) to formally recognise Argentina's participation in the joint venture.
The Super Rugby referees, under the guidance of game manager Lyndon Bray, gathered in Sydney for their annual training camp. The 2016 referee squad contains 22 members, of which nine are in line to make their first appearance at this level, including Federico Anselmi and Shuhei Kubo of Argentina and Japan respectively.
2016 Super Rugby Referees
Federico Anselmi (Argentina – 0 Super Rugby, 7 Tests)*
Nic Berry (Australia – 0 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)*
Stuart Berry (South Africa – 21 Super Rugby, 5 Tests)
Nick Briant (New Zealand – 25 Super Rugby, 2 Tests)
Mike Fraser (New Zealand – 23 Super Rugby, 4 Tests)
Angus Gardner (Australia – 26 Super Rugby, 5 Tests)
Rohan Hoffmann (Australia – 26 Super Rugby, 3 Tests)
William Houston (Australia – 0 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)*
Quinton Immelman (South Africa – 0 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)*
Glen Jackson (New Zealand – 41 Super Rugby, 16 Tests)
Craig Joubert (South Africa – 93 Super Rugby, 64 Tests)
Shuhei Kubo (Japan – 0 Super Rugby, 6 Tests)*
Andrew Lees (Australia – 22 Super Rugby, 2 Tests)
Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand – 0 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)*
Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand – 5 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)
Jaco Peyper (South Africa – 59 Super Rugby, 29 Tests)
Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand – 0 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)*
Chris Pollock (New Zealand – 70 Super Rugby, 22 Tests)
Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa – 0 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)*
Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa – 9 Super Rugby, 1 Test)
Jaco van Heerden (South Africa – 6 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)
Paul Williams (New Zealand – 0 Super Rugby, 0 Tests)*
* New squad member
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images