10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The Conference was attended by many of the world's leading coaches, referees, players and administrators including Sir Clive Woodward who coached England to their Rugby World Cup triumph in Australia last November.
Sir Clive, who presented a paper on decoy (option) running, described the Conference as a rare opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion outside the match environment and without the emotion of an international occasion.
The coaches from eight of the world's top ten countries were present, and the players were represented by Olivier Brouzet (France), Dave Hewett (New Zealand), Geordan Murphy (Ireland) and Ben Tune (Australia).
The topics discussed, and the Laws relating to them, included the tackle, scrum, lineout, ruck and maul, injuries and player safety and refereeing issues.
Among the key recommendations, which will be taken forward for further discussion and consideration at the Annual Meeting of the IRB in April, are: -
1) The development of an education programme on the technical management and protocols for the scrummage.
2) The development of an education programme in relation to referee management protocols at the tackle and ruck.
3) Research into the maul to include injury surveillance, management, defence, binding and obstruction.
4) That there be a consultative process with coaches and players with regard to the ranking of international games, and that the referee selection panel be extended to include a national coach and an international player.
5) That there be an endorsement of the principle of the best referees for the top games.
6) The Laws are adequate in relation to decoy (option) running. But for clarification, the option runner must be in an onside position. If he runs in front of the ball carrier before the pass is made, he is offside and liable to penalty if he obstructs an opposition player (Law 11). After the ball carrier has passed the ball, the decoy runner must not obstruct opposition players (Law 10.1 Obstruction and Law 11 Offside).
Summing up, Dr Syd Millar, Chairman of the IRB, said The Conference has brought together many of rugby's most influential stakeholders and it has produced the opportunity for lively and productive discussion. The feedback will be immensely valuable for the future shape and health of the game.