THE Super League season will start with six changes after the RFL Board ratified recommendations from the RFL Laws Committee for the 2021 season.

The law changes are as follows.

 1. 20/40 Kick  

Where a player kicks the ball in general play bounded by their own dead ball line, 20 metre lines and touchlines and the ball finds touch, otherwise than on the full, at a point on the touchline between the opponents 40 metre line and the goal line, the kicking team shall recommence play with a tap kick.

The tap kick will be taken 20 metres in from the touchline and in line with where the ball first crossed the touchline but no closer than 10 metres from the goal line.

Prior to blowing the whistle, the Referee will give the defending team ‘reasonable time’ to get into position.

The tap kick may only be taken when the Referee blows his whistle to restart play. This will only occur when all match officials are in position and ready to officiate.

2. Ball Steal.

The ball can be stolen from the player in possession at any stage prior to a tackle being completed and when there is only one defender effecting the tackle.

If there are two or more defenders effecting the tackle and the ball is stolen a penalty should be awarded except if the player in possession is attempting to ground the ball for a try.

(note – this changes the previous situation whereby a defender would be penalised for stealing the ball if other defenders had been involved in the tackle then dropped off),

3. Lateral position of scrums.

Where play is recommenced by a scrum, both teams must be properly bound and packed within 30 seconds from the time the Referee has verbally indicated that the “scrum clock” has started.

The team with the loose head and feed may elect, within 5 seconds of the Referee verbally indicating that the scrum clock has started, to move the scrum to: (a) 10m in from touch (b) 20m in from touch (c) Centre field Each team must nominate two players on the team sheet prior to the match as able to inform the referee where the scrum should be set.

If both nominated players are off the field, one additional Player may be nominated to the Touch Judge by the Head Trainer during the match.

If the team does not elect to move the scrum, or 5 seconds elapses prior to the team with the loose head and feed nominating where the scrum shall be moved to, or there is confusion as to where they would like the scrum moved to, the scrum will be formed at the point of the infringement, but not closer than 20m from the touch line or 10m from a goal line.

The scrum can only be moved to one of the nominated points on the same side of the field to where the infringement occurred.

If the scrum clock is not started due to an injury, or a reason outside of the team with the loose head and feeds control, they are required to advise the Referee of the nominated position as the Referee moves to check on the injured player.

4. Restart of play after ball crosses the touchline.

Play the ball restart after the ball, or player carrying the ball finds touch. (note – would previously have been a scrum) The play the ball will be 10 or 20 metres from touch or mid-field, nominated within 10 seconds by the captain.

The default position will be the 20 metre mark.

This Is Lancashire:

5. Incorrect Play the Ball.

 A handover is to be ordered where players do not make a genuine attempt to play the ball with the foot. (note – would previously have been a penalty).

This Is Lancashire:

6. Scrum Break.

Where players break early before the referee has called “out”, the referee will award a full penalty. The team receiving the penalty will have the option of re-forming the scrum. If the scrum is re-formed and players again break early, a further penalty will be awarded and one of the offending players will be sent to the sin bin.


Emergency Law Amendment Due to the current state of the Covid pandemic, it is recommended to continue with the emergency law introduced in 2020 with scrums removed.

This will be kept under constant review and, when safe to do so on medical and scientific advice, scrums can be reintroduced during the season.

However, the shot clock application will be removed. The play the ball restart will be 10 or 20 metres from touch or mid-field, nominated within 10 seconds by the captain (as defined above).

The default position will be the 20 metre mark.