Rugby Football League confirm law changes ahead of 2024 campaign, including six agains and reckless tackles
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Six agains, the 18th man and reckless tackles have all been involved in changes, approved by the RFL board this week.
A team may now activate their 18th man following two failed head injury assessments – or when a player is deemed ineligible to return to the field by any injury caused by serious foul play which has led to an opponent being dismissed or sent to the sin-bin.
Previously, a team could only use their named 18th man in their matchday squad following three HIAs.
The six again rule has seen a major change. A penalty will now be awarded if a defensive team infringes within the 40-metre area of the team in possession, rather than restarting the tackle count.
There has also been a change to tackle techniques, a debate that was highlighted throughout the 2023 Super League season.
A closer look on techniques was requested by St Helens boss Paul Wellens, who was left unhappy after seeing forwards Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi suffer long-term injuries due to controversial tackles used by Leigh captain John Asiata.
Explained by an RFL statement, it states: “Following an increase in the 2023 season in the number of tackles that have caused serious lower limb injuries, the laws committee recommended a new category of misconduct as part of the dangerous contact charge, defined as recklessly endangering the safety of another player by making reckless contact to the lower limb(s) of the ball carrier where they have not made a “controlled” attempt to make a tackle.”
Meanwhile, teams awarded penalties from scrums may now take the option of resetting the scrum - whereas previously, that option was only available for early detachment.
Finally, there has also been a slight change to the use of green cards. This will continue in 2024, but only in Super League and not in the Championship.
It can now only be shown to players on the defending team.
Green cards were introduced to reduce the time taken to deal with injured players on the field of play, where safe to do so.