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Law 3: Temporary Replacements – Amendments

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World Rugby, which was previously called the International Rugby Board, has the primary task of making and formulating the laws of the game. From time to time it makes clarifications of the laws and also amendments to the laws.

Clarifications and amendments to laws remain in force as laws till they are changed.

World Rugby has sent out an amendment to Law 3 - Team. This law concerns itself with the number of players in each team and includes regulations for what happens in the case of the removal of a player to have bleeding attended to or for a head injury assessment.

Its new amendment, which takes immediate effect, concerns what happens when a player leaves the field because of bleeding or head injury assessment.

World Rugby's Statement

EXCO acting in accordance with the Bye-Laws has agreed to approve a Law 3 amendment regarding restarting play after a HIA or blood injury request with immediate effect. The approved amendments to Law 3 are set out in APPENDIX ONE*.

Further to the approval of the Law amendment, when there is a HIA or Blood injury, then the game cannot restart until the relevant player has been temporarily replaced. The intention of this law amendment is to ensure that players with suspected head injuries or blood wounds are assessed and treated as soon as possible and teams do not run the risk of playing with fewer players than permitted.

The amendments apply only to elite matches that have been approved for HIA and the use of temporary substitutions. It is only in these elite games that broadcast and communications systems between Match Officials will be in place to ensure it happens.

The amendment follows an incident in the first half of the match last Saturday between England and Wales. England had been penalised for a deliberate knock-on and the guilty player (Anthony Watson) was sent to the sin bin. At the same time England scrumhalf Willi Heinz was being taken off for a head injury assessment. That means that England were down to 13 players. Wales took a tap kick, and George North scored. The amendment is to make sure that England would have had a replacement for Heinz before Wales could take a tap kick.

*APPENDIX ONE

Law 3 – Game – Temporary Replacements

Amendments to Law 3 are set out in bold below.

TEMPORARY REPLACEMENT - BLOOD INJURY

25. When a player has a blood injury, that player leaves the field of play and may be temporarily replaced. The injured player returns to play as soon as the bleeding has been controlled and/or covered. If the player is not available to return to the field of play within 15 minutes (actual time) of leaving the playing area, the replacement becomes permanent.

26. In international matches, the match-day doctor decides whether an injury is a blood injury necessitating a temporary replacement. In matches which have been approved in advance by World Rugby for use of the HIA process, the game cannot restart until the player with the blood injury has been temporarily replaced.

TEMPORARY REPLACEMENT - HEAD INJURY ASSESSMENT (HIA)

27. In matches which have been approved in advance by World Rugby for use of the HIA process, a player who requires an HIA:
a) Leaves the field of play; and
b) Is temporarily replaced (even if all the replacements have been used). The game cannot restart until the player who requires an HIA has been temporarily replaced. If the player is not available to return to the field of play after 10 minutes (actual time) of leaving the playing area, the replacement becomes permanent.

The amendments apply only to elite matches that have been approved for HIA and the use of temporary substitutions. It is only in these elite games that broadcast and communications systems between Match Officials will be in place to ensure it happens.

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