The Board of ERC has ratified the introduction of 23-man matchday squads for both the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup tournaments for the 2009/10 season onwards.
The move by ERC follows the recent alteration to Law 3 by the IRB and is aimed at reducing the number of games that go to uncontested scrums and to remove the advantage which one team may gain when uncontested scrums arise.
Each European club registers up to 38 players for the pool stages of European competition of which a minimum of 10 must be front row-qualified.
Clubs will also continue to be allowed to introduce an additional player during the pool stages as a replacement for one of their squad.
From the 2009/10 season forward, each club’s matchday squad now must contain a minimum of three specialist front row players within the named eight replacements comprising two props and a hooker.
If all front row replacements have been utilised during a game, and there is a further front row injury, and no fit front row player is available from the original starting team or replacement bench, the injured player will leave the field but may not be replaced.