Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have today confirmed the law variations that will be applied for the upcoming Harvey Norman Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season.
Goal line drop-outs and replacements for red-carded players after 20 minutes are the two law innovations carried over from Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU.
Teams will also share the points for tied matches during the round robin stage while the Final will be under the same extra-time protocols as the recent Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU Final.
Rugby Australia Director of Rugby Scott Johnson said: “We enjoyed some great discussion between stakeholders here in Australia and in New Zealand, and now really look forward to the competition kicking off this weekend.
“The goal line drop-out has proven it is fit for purpose and it has allowed for greater ball in play time compared to a five-metre scrum. We have seen the red card replacement serve its purpose too in Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU, and while we never want to see red cards, we now know that it doesn’t have the potential to ruin a close contest.
“Similar to the domestic competition, we believe we have struck the right balance in preserving the integrity of the competition while also developing our players for the Test arena, which now isn’t too far away,” Johnson said.
New Zealand Rugby Head of High Performance Mike Anthony said it was important to ensure the laws used over the next six weeks did not disadvantage players from either side of the Tasman.
“New Zealand Rugby has trialled a range of innovations this season in Super Rugby Aotearoa and we are reviewing those trials with a view to making some recommendations for future competitions.
“For Super Rugby Trans-Tasman we have agreed with Rugby Australia to stick to laws that were consistent across our respective domestic Super Rugby competitions, which in this case are the goal-line drop-out and the red card replacement.
“Statistics from Super Rugby Aotearoa indicate the goal-line drop-out has achieved its purpose of speeding up the game and getting the ball back in play more quickly than a 5m scrum, while we believe the red card replacement rule maintains the integrity of matches for players and fans alike when a player has been sent off,” Anthony said.
The 2021 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season will officially kick-off on Friday 14 May with a blockbuster doubleheader when the Highlanders face the Queensland Reds at Forysth Barr Stadium before the NSW Waratahs square off against the Hurricanes at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
There will be 25 regular season matches before the two top-placed teams on a combined competition ladder square off for the title in the Final on 19 June.
Stan Sport is the only place to watch every minute of the action, with extensive coverage ad-free, live and on demand, while Saturday night’s game will be simulcast live on 9Gem.