13 May 2020
World Rugby has announced that it is no longer a try if an attacking player grounds the ball against the protective padding around a goal post.
By Paul Dobson, Moonsport
The decision, taken by World Rugby's council on Tuesday, 12 May 2020, comes into immediate effect.
Old law: Law 8.2 A try is scored when an attacking player:
a. Is first to ground the ball in the opponents’ in-goal, against the opponents' goal post or its surrounding padding.
New law: Law 8.2 A try is scored when the attacking player is first to ground the ball in the opponents’ in-goal.
***The new law does not contain "against the opponents' goal post". We have queried that and will replay any findings we may be able to make. Following our query, it would appear that it is indeed the case of a change that removes not only the padding from a law first promulgated in 2000 but also from goal post itself, a law going back over 50 years. In 1964, the law stated: As the goal posts and the goal lines are In-goal, a try or touchdown can be obtained on the goal line or if the ball is in contact with the ground and the goal post.
The defending team is apparently not changed in its use of the padding. Law 21.9 If a defending player grounds the ball against a goal post or its surrounding padding, the result is a touch down.
Explaining the amendment to Law 8, World Rugby said that with defending players currently obliged to stay behind the goal-line, and post-protector shape and size increasing for welfare reasons, it was increasingly difficult for teams to legally defend the area.
They also pointed to “extreme cases”, where the padding had been lifted or moved by defending teams to make it harder for their opponents to score tries, thereby exposing players to increased risk of injury.
From now on the post protector will no longer be considered an extension of the goal-line.
Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “World Rugby’s mission is to make the game as simple, safe and enjoyable to play as possible.
“This law amendment reflects that mission. By stipulating that an attacking team can no longer score against the post protector and therefore must ground the ball in-goal, this gives defending teams a fair chance of preventing a try from being scored.”
The amended law will now read: The post protector is no longer an extension of the goal-line and therefore Law 8.2 (a) will read: A try is scored when the attacking player is first to ground the ball in the opponents’ in-goal.