But following an initial review, including consultation with national coaches and referee managers, it has been decided that referees will adopt a non-verbal communication to scrum halves for the introduction of the ball.
This is in accordance with the relevant law (20.5 Throwing the Ball Into the Scrum).
The change is effective immediately and will include this week's Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup matches in the northern Hemisphere (January 9-12).
It will also include the next rounds of other elite competitions, including the Top 14 in France (January 24), Aviva Premiership in England (February 7-9) and the RaboDirect PRO12 in other parts of Europe (February 7-9).
As with the original protocol, it is up to individual Unions to decide whether this change will be adopted at levels below elite rugby.