Trial on more TMO powers
Rugby bosses have agreed to a trial which could see the Television Match Official rule on incidents within the field of play, including foul play.
The International Rugby Board Council have approved global trials for five law amendments, as well as an additional trial to extend the jurisdiction of the (TMO). The trial will allow the TMO to rule on incidents within the field of play that have led to the scoring of a try, and foul play on the field of play.
Previously the TMO could only be called upon to rule on the act of scoring, but the alteration could avoid a repeat of incidents such as the clearly illegal Mike Phillips' try that allowed Wales to beat Ireland in the 2011 Six Nations.
The decision was taken at Tuesday's annual council meeting in Dublin, and the change will be tested at a suitable elite level in order to put a protocol in place for the November internationals.
The five global trials of amendments will take place from the start of next season in the northern and southern hemispheres, and will be used in domestic and international competition.
The quintet of changes include limiting the amount of time that the ball is available at the back of a ruck, teams will have five seconds to use possession after being instructed to do so by the referee.
The rules governing the taking of a quick throw-in will also be altered. Players will be able to take a quick throw-in from anywhere outside the field of play between the line of touch and their own goal line, while if an opponent knocks-on into touch the non-offending side can choose a line-out as opposed to the standard scrum.
Conversions will have to be taken within 90 seconds of a try being awarded, and should foul play or a technical offence take place at a line-out then the non-offending side can opt to have a further line-out on their own throw.
Then there are the three additional trials that will operate during 2012, including the expansion of the TMO's role. The November Test window will also see international sides allowed to select eight replacements, bringing them in line with domestic competition where an extra front-row substitute is named on the bench.
The final additional trial will be to allow Sevens teams to use up to five replacements during a match as the result of the demands and expansion of the Sevens World Series.