World Rugby has announced that a new law designed to improve scrum stability and protect hookers will be trialled in this year’s Six Nations.
The game’s governing body are keen to discover if the minor adjustment can reduce the number of collapsed scrums and resets, while also helping hookers by relieving the force on the spine and neck.
Both hookers must now ensure one foot – the ‘brake foot’ – is extended towards the opposition during the crouch and bind phases of the engagement sequence. A free-kick will be given if the brake foot is not applied.
The law trial will also be implemented in this year’s women’s and U20s Six Nations.
World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said: “We want rugby to be the best it can be for those playing and watching the game and this trial will enable us to understand whether we can positively impact both game and welfare outcomes.
“This builds on voluntary adoption by teams and greater vigilance by match officials in recent elite competitions and we would like to thank Six Nations Rugby and all the participating teams for embracing the trial and we look forward to seeing the results.”
Exeter have decided to drop their Native American identity theme in the face of fierce criticism, opting instead to rebrand themselves in line with the ‘Celtic Iron Age Dumnonii Tribe’.
The new identity, which will continue to see the team known as the Chiefs, will be officially launched during this year’s inter-season period, with the club saying it had aligned itself with a more direct and local piece of history.
The Celtic Iron Age Dumnonii Tribe encompassed an area covering Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset for centuries before the Roman occupation from 43AD.
A large section of supporters campaigned for change in the belief that the current imagery disrespects indigenous people in North America, prompting a review process that has now been concluded.
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