Spectators and fans will witness a quicker and more "exciting" brand of rugby, following a decision by the South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby Unions (SANZAR) to adopt a range of the Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) for the Super 14 competition.
The variations adopted by SANZAR for the Super 14, starting on February 15, relate to the Laws governing:
* Posts and flags around the field
* Inside the 22-metre line
* Breakdown (tackle/post tackle)
The primary aim of the ELVs is to keep the ball in play longer, with fewer stoppages and more running rugby, thereby creating a more free-flowing, faster and exciting style of play.
The ELVs also make the game simpler to understand, for players and spectators alike.
Developed at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the ELVs have already been successfully trialled in the Stellenbosch Hostel League, New Zealand's provincial Men's B competition, Australian Rugby Championship, Sydney and Brisbane club competitions and some domestic competitions in the United Kingdom.
Australian Rugby Union (ARU) deputy CEO, Matt Carroll said the decision by SANZAR to adopt a number of the ELVs for the Super 14 will ensure the competition is at the forefront of the game.
"The Super 14 presents an exciting opportunity to trial the [International Rugby Board] IRB Experimental Law Variations so as to add significantly to the quality of the competition," he said.
"The ELVs we are trialling have received very favourable reviews in all of the trials conducted so far and the Super 14 is a unique chance to expose spectators and fans across the globe to the benefits of the new laws."
"Most importantly, the ELVs will make the tournament more enjoyable and entertaining for all involved."
New Zealand Rugby Union Deputy CEO, Steve Tew said: "The IRB asked SANZAR to trial the ELVs and we are happy to do that. It will be the highest level of rugby competition at which they have been trialled, which is exciting.
"The trial of the ELVs in our Men's B competition saw a more open game and the variations we are trialling were positively received by our players, coaches and referees."
South African Rugby Union Managing Director, Jonathan Stones said: "The South African Rugby Union [SARU] welcomes the ELVs for the Super 14. The move to play under the ELVs will be very beneficial for the game and will create a greater and much more exciting spectacle."
Experimental Law Variations to be applied in the Super 14:
Posts and flags around the field
1. Posts and flags around the field (ARC variation)
a. Corner posts will be positioned at the outside junction of the goal-line and the touch-line.
i. If a player is in possession of the ball and touches a corner post he will not be in touch unless he touches the touchline or the ground beyond the touchline.
ii. If the ball is not being carried by a player and it touches the corner post the ball will be deemed to be touch in goal.
Inside the 22-metre line
2. When a defending player receives the ball outside the 22-metre line and passes, puts or takes the ball back inside the 22, the following can occur.
a. If the ball is then kicked directly into touch, the line-out is in line with where the ball was kicked.
b. If a tackle, ruck or maul is subsequently formed and the ball is then kicked directly into touch, the line-out is where the ball crossed the touch line.
3. On a quick throw-in, the ball can be thrown straight or backwards towards the defenders' goal-line, but not forward towards the opposition goal-line.
Breakdown (tackle/post tackle)
4. Players entering the breakdown area must do so through the gate.
5. Immediately the tackle occurs there are offside lines.
6. The half-back (scrum-half) should not be touched unless he has his hands on the ball.
7. The offside line for players who are not in the scrum and who are not the team's scrum-half, is five metres behind the hindmost foot of the scrum.
8. For all offences other than offside, not entering through the gate, and Law 10 - Foul Play, the sanction is a free-kick.