World Rugby Announces Several Global Law Trials – USAR Adopts

World Rugby has announced several Global Law Trials that go into effect on August 1st, 2021. These trials are not minor tweaks and will have some significant effects on safety and strategy. We strongly recommend all players and coaches familiarize themselves with the new Laws. Referees must learn all the details.

More information can be found at: This resource includes many good video examples. (World Rugby has not yet updated their mobile Laws app, but we
expect that to happen soon.)

USA Rugby has adopted these trial laws and so this will impact NERFU clubs and New England referees. We encourage club coaches and administrators to reach out to the New England Rugby Referee Society (NERRS) with any questions.

NERRS website:
NERRS Facebook Group:



If the team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half indirectly (i.e. it bounces first) into touch inside their opponents’ 22, they will throw into the resulting lineout. The ball cannot be passed or carried back into the defensive half for the 50:22 to be played. The phase immediately prior to the kick (tackle, ruck or maul) must originate inside the defensive half, or an opponent touches the ball inside the half before it is kicked.

Goal line drop-out

If the ball is held up in in-goal, or there is a knock-on from an attacking player in in-goal, or an attacking kick is made dead by the defending team inside their own in-goal, then play restarts with a goal line dropout anywhere along the goal line.

1-player latch

One support player may pre-latch to a ball carrier prior to contact. If the ball carrier is tackled, this player must observe all the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet and not obstruct an opposing tackler or player trying to contest for the ball. The first opposition player may still attempt to tackle the ball carrier, and will not be considered to have automatically created a maul when they make initial contact.

Flying Wedge

Two or more support players may not bind onto a ball carrier prior to opposition contact play. This is dangerous play. (Usually happens near the goal line or in open play.)

Cleanout and safety of the ‘jackler’

The ‘jackler’ has now been defined as the first arriving team-mate of the tackler at the tackle. A Penalty Kick has been added for clean-outs which target or drop weight onto this player’s lower limbs. No-wrap hits and ‘neck rolls’ on a jackler are still foul play. Clasping a jackler under their armpits to lever them up and out of the contest (known as a ‘gator roll’) is still legal.


An updated Game Management Guidelines document will be released for the 2021-22 season in early August. USA Rugby will also be hosting a webinar for coaches and referees covering the Law trials:

Global Law Trials Webinar for Coaches and Referees

Roundtable discussion with:
Angus Gardner – World Rugby Test Referee, Australia
Jenny Lui – Eagle #210 and WNT 15s Assistant Coach
Tim O’Brien – US Rugby HOF Coach and Head Coach Saint Mary’s College

Recorded: Thursday August 5th, 8:30pm: