World Rugby: Global trial limiting non-playing personnel’s access to the field begins July 1

·2-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

World Rugby has announced that there will be a global trial aimed at limiting non-playing personnel from entering the field to improve the flow of matches.

From July 1, the trial will be in effect for all competitions and includes the summer tours as well as the women’s World Cup this year and the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Improve the flow of the game

World Rugby said the trial “aims to improve the flow of matches by reducing unnecessary stoppages without compromising welfare”.

The decision for the trial was reached after extensive research on player hydration needs and how much time is lost by non-playing personnel during a game.

Medics will only be able to offer water to a player they are treating. Teams can have up to two water carriers, and this cannot be the director of rugby or head coach as Rassie Erasmus famously did last year.

Water carriers will only enter the field of play twice per half at agreed times with match officials and during a stoppage.

“No-one should approach, address or aim comments at the match officials, save for medics in respect of treatment of a player. Should this happen, the sanction will be a penalty kick,” World Rugby added.

World Rugby’s chief player welfare and rugby services officer, Mark Harrington, says the key is to promote the flow of the game more without compromising player safety.

“Helping the game to flow better while not compromising on the welfare of players is a key aim of these trials,” he said.

“We are taking concrete action to improve the flow of rugby matches. This will be the first time teams on the field of play could be sanctioned by the actions of those not directly involved in the contest.

“We’ve received feedback from across the game that the number of people who aren’t players interrupting the flow of the game was getting out of hand.

“But we needed to tackle the issue without impacting on the welfare of players and providing them with everything needed to perform at the highest level.”

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