| Rugby News | Thursday August 9 2012 18:17
Auckland and Counties will get their first go at the new ITM Cup rules tomorrow night.
The two sides will meet in a warm up game for 40 minutes, after both have spent 20 minutes throwing themselves at the All Blacks.
Eight new laws are being trialled including time limits on playing the ball once it's available from a ruck, and on conversions.
NZRU referees high performance manager Rod Hill says the changes are all to encourage teams to use the ball.
"The paying public, the people that have paid for subscription TV and that sort of thing, they want to actually see a flowing game and so to see it shut down with 10 minutes to go is just not that enjoyable."
It hasn't been decided if the All Blacks portion of the warm up game will trial the new rules.
They won't be used in the Rugby Championship.
However there's a further step forward for the welfare of professional rugby players.
The Rugby Championship will join the ITM Cup in trialling a rule designed to curb the effect of concussions taken on field.
SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters has confirmed they'll begin the use of a five minute assessment period off the field for any player suspected of having a headknock.
The player is only able to return to the field if they pass all elements of the test, administered by team and independent doctors.
The competition begins next weekend, with the All Blacks travelling to Sydney to play Australia.
ITM Cup |