2024 Community Game Innovations

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is focused on creating a safer game that participants love to play.

Three game innovations (EDSLVs) will be trialed for the 2024 and 2025 community rugby seasons, aimed at improving player safety and flow of the game.

These game innovations were developed by NZR through a series of successful trials in Provincial Union competitions throughout the 2022 season, following an in-depth assessment which took into consideration game footage, key metrics and participant feedback. 

Game innovation: 

1. Reduced tackle height to below the sternum targeting the tummy areaThe second tackler can legally tackle below the shoulders in accordance with current rugby law.

Key stats from the 2023 season:

  • In teenage boys’ 1st XV matches observed, nearly 90% of all tackles involved only 1 tackler.​
  • 78% of first tackles were below the sternum in senior men’s rugby.​
  • 72% of first tackles were below the sternum in senior women’s rugby.
  • 90% of first tackles were below the sternum in premier 1st XV school rugby.
  • 61% of participants thought the lower tackle height was either significantly safer or somewhat safer for the first tackler.​
  • 72% of participants agreed that the lower tackle height was safer for the ball carrier.
  • 89% of all participants understood the reason for the tackle below the sternum law.​
  • In premier men's games, offloads increased by around 65% compared to similar games analysed in 2022.


2. Maximum 1.5 metre scrum push 

3. Halfback not in possession of the ball - offside at scrum


Click here for a closer look.