THE IMPACT OF RULE CHANGE ELV NUMBER 4 ON OUT-OFHAND
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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In 2006, the IRB advanced 23 ELVs, 13 of which where accepted and introduced into global rugby union at the commencement of the 2008/09 season. One of these ELVs, namely ELV number 4 (Law 19 Touch and Lineout) stated that the ball could no longer be passed back into the 22-meter area and directly kicked off the field in order to gain territory. This rule change was implemented to increase the amount of running rugby. This study set out to determine if ELV number 4 has affected the types of out-ofhand kicks employed during rugby matches. In order to analyse this, kick types, positions who performed kicks and the area in which the kick was performed, were analysed. The sample comprised of 40 matches (n=40) from two IRB Rugby World Cups during 2007 and 2011, played pre and post the law change. Performance Indicators were developed in order to analyse specific facets of the game and the study employed key reliability and validity tests. The Mann Whitney- U test was employed in order to determine the significance between the two independent samples, according to a significance value of p=0.05. Results demonstrated that key changes have emerged in the specific aspects analysed. Notably, the total number of kicks employed by players in general and in the defensive zone had decreased by 2011. In contrast, the analysis evidenced an increase in the number of box kicks and those designed to clear and relieve pressure. Moreover, a greater percentage of possession played was identified during the 2011 tournament, thus indicating the success of the rule change in terms of promoting a more open, expansive game. The study outlines the key implications to emerge from this work and advances recommendations for further research in the field.
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