Ball-steal rule set to be dropped by RFL after one season


Wakefield Trinity's Jay Pitts is tackled by three Leigh Centurions players
The rule allows one of these Leigh Centurions players [in red] to attempt to steal the ball, once there is just one of them in the tackle

The controversial ball-steal rule is set to be dropped by the Rugby Football League after just one season.

The rule, copied from Australia’s NRL in 2021, allows a player to steal the ball from an opponent if his team-mates drop off the tackle in time.

But it created confusion and difficulty for referees in deciding whether players had fallen off the tackle.

Now the governing body’s laws committee will seek RFL board approval to remove the rule from the start of 2022.

A spokesman said: “Members were unanimous in their view that the law be rolled back to its 2021 interpretation and that the RFL should lobby the International Rugby League for the law’s removal from the international game from 2022.”

The committee also considered bringing back scrums to the domestic game but decided it was still too early and agreed to look at the issue again in a month’s time.

Scrums were removed from matches when the Super League season resumed last August in a bid to cut down on the number of close contacts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Scrums remain in the international laws and will be used in the World Cup later this year in England.

BBC News