New law 9.19 – Lifting in open play
World Rugby has today issued a law to the game, which now makes it an offence to fail to bring a player being lifted to the ground safely in open play. This brings open play law into line with lineout lifting and reaffirms player safety measures being taken across the game.
In a formal clarification from the World Rugby Council, law 9 – Foul Play now has a new section. New law 9.19 has been added:
In open play, any player may lift or support a player from the same team. Players who support or lift a teammate must lower the player to the ground safely as soon as the ball is won by a player of either team.
In real terms, this usually happens at a restart (kick off/22 drop out) when the ball is in open play – but can also happen from normal kicks in open play. The receiving team lifts a player to ensure they gain possession of the ball. This new law means they can’t leave the player in the air in order to ‘create’ a potential collision by the oncoming players – they must bring the player to ground straightaway.
This new law comes into effect immediately and existing laws 9.19 to 9.25 will be renumbered as laws 9.20 to 9.26 respectively.