Club News

RFU and World Rugby Guidance







The RFU and World Rugby have update the regulations in regard to contact with the head, and the sanctions associated with such contact. See below for all details.




Please find attached the following documents:-

·         New sanction tables for the Adult and Youth game applicable as of the 3rd January 2017 (please note that the link on the RFU website will be updated on the 3rdJanuary)

·         Guidance on Contact with the head area from World Rugby

·         Additional clarification from World Rugby

As you will be aware, Unions recently took part in the World Rugby consultation on its disciplinary process and sanctions table.

The RFU, including representatives of the professional and semi-professional leagues and the Constituent Body Disciplinary Panels contributed to the consultation and as a result a revised sanctions table will come into force in the game globally from 3 January 2017.

The revised sanctions table is attached, but the key changes are as follows:

·         Incidents of foul play involving contact with the head shall be at least a mid-range entry point

·         Increased entry points for striking with the elbow, stamping and spitting

·         Various entry points altered and expressed in an even number of weeks

·         Sanctions for ‘tip tackles’ at all levels have been increased by 2 weeks

·         An extension of the description under Law 10.4.M relating to ‘testicle grabbing or twisting or squeezing’ to incorporate other acts of foul play against both male and female players.

·         Sanctions for verbal abuse of players, match officials, spectators, coaches or support staff based on religion, race, colour or national ethnic origin, sexual orientation or otherwise has been increased and the definition expanded

In addition, the following changes have also been implemented:

1.       Physical Abuse of a Match Official has remained unchanged as per the previous sanctions table, however a new offence of ‘Incidental Physical Contact with a Match Official’ has been included.

The entry points for this new offence are as follows:-

Entry point


Low end

6 weeks


12 weeks

Top end

18+ weeks

World Rugby recognise that there will, on occasion, be instances of ‘reckless contact with a match official that occurs in a dynamic situation where no injury is caused’ and it was felt that the previous sanctions did not adequately cater for this category of foul play.

When considering this new offence, Panels and clubs may be assisted by the following cases:

Brian Mujati Judgment – EPCR                     Brian Mujati Footage

Kieran Brookes Judgment – RFU                  Kieran Brookes footage

Mitchell Eadie Judgment – RFU                    Mitchell Eadie footage

Joe Graham Judgment – RFU                        Joe Graham footage

Ben West Judgment & footage – RFU

2.       An amendment has also been made to Law 10.4.M Contact with the eye(s)/eye area. This has now been split in to two separate charges with two defined entry points. World Rugby have also defined ‘eye area’ and that definition will follow when received from World Rugby in the New Year.

The entry points for charges brought under Law 10.4.M ‘Contact with the Eye(s)’ are as follows:

Entry point


Low end

12 weeks


18 weeks

Top end

24+ weeks

The entry points for the new Law 10.4.M ‘Contact with the Eye area’ will be as follows:-

 Entry point


Low end

4 weeks


8 weeks

Top end

12+ weeks

·         World Rugby have also confirmed that all acts of foul play that involve contact to the head of an opponent (including striking, stamping, kicking and dangerous tackling) shall result in at least a mid-range entry point (top-end in the case of stamping and kicking). This is designed to safeguard the health and welfare of players and is based on feedback from former players, coaches, match officials and medical practitioners who were all part of the consultation process.

·         The final key point for all Panel Members and clubs to note is that all existing World Rugby Memoranda issued by the World Rugby Head of Judiciary have been revoked and are no longer applicable.


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