Five amendments that will enhance Rugby League matches for players, spectators and viewers will come into effect for the 2017 season Betfred Super League, Kingstone Press Championship and League 1 and Ladbrokes Challenge Cup to make the game safer, more exciting and more continuous.

The changes have been devised by the RFL Laws Committee, a group with game-wide representations and relate to scrums, goal line drop outs, 20 metre restarts, 40/20 kicks and markers.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood, who chairs the Laws Committee, said: “The changes will allow more exciting and continuous play which will enhance the match day experience for players, spectators, coaches and TV viewers.

“The Laws Committee took into consideration views from across the game and I am sure the changes will be well received by everyone involved.”

The Law changes and amendments were approved by the game at a meeting of the Rugby League Council held on Thursday December 15.

Details of the changes are as follows:
All defensive players outside the scrum, other than the scrum halves must retire ten metres or more behind the mark where the scrum is formed and shall remain until the ball has emerged correctly from the scrum. This previously stated that defensive players outside the scrum had to retire five metres or more from the scrum.

Goal Line drop out
The previous rule of a player being able to straddle the dead ball line or touch in-goal line and be awarded a 20m restart has now changed.
Where the ball is stationary in the in-goal area comes into contact with a player in touch, in goal or over the dead ball line, the ball is deemed to have been made dead by that player. The ball must have bounced on the ground either on or over the dead ball line/touch in goal line for a 20m restart to be awarded.

20 metre restarts
An additional rule is now included in the 20 metre restart law that the initial tackle affected on the team taking the 20-metre optional restart shall be a zero tackle.

40/20 kick
The changes regarding the 40/20 law now clarify where and when the tap kick will be taken. It specifies that the tap kick will be taken 20 metres in from the touchline where the ball first crossed the touchline but no closer than 10 metres from the goal line.

Provides clarification on the position of markers once a tackle is complete.