Nines rule changes – your guide

This weekend’s NRL Auckland Nines will be a bit different than what’s to come in the 2014 NRL season – here’s a rundown on the rule changes for the inaugural tournament.

You can catch the games live on Fox Sports 1HD – these are our pool games:
• Cowboys v Sea Eagles - 11.50am AEST (2.50pm local), Saturday
• Cowboys v Raiders - 3.35pm AEST (6.35pm local), Saturday
• Cowboys v Warriors - 10.45am AEST (1.45pm local), Sunday

• Each match shall consist of two equal halves of nine (9) minutes. A half-time period of two (2) minutes shall apply to all matches.

• The total number of players on the field at any one time in each team shall not exceed nine (9).
• Each club must nominate a team comprising of 15 players for each match. A total of six (6) interchange players may be used on an unlimited interchange basis throughout the match (including extra time).
• A maximum of two (2) players may be interchanged at any one time.

• All scrums shall be formed with a maximum of five (5) players from each team (three players in the front row and two in the second row). There shall be no more than four (4) players on each team acting as backs.
• At the scrum, the non-offending team shall have the loose head and feed, and can elect which side of the scrum the ball shall be fed.
• The defending halfback must also take up a position on the same side of the scrum as the ball is being fed.
• All defending players not involved in the scrum (other than the defending halfback) must retire five (5) metres from their last row of forwards. (This is as per International Laws.)
• Scrums will only be formed in the event of a double knock-on or a mutual infringement. In all other circumstances, play will re-start with a handover to the non-offending team, including where kicks find touch in general play. The handover will be provided to the non-kicking team ten (10) metres infield, opposite where the ball crossed the touch line.
• In the event of a successful 40/20 kick, play will recommence with a tap re-start to the kicking team twenty (20) metres in from where the ball crossed the touch line.

• A try shall count for four (4) points except for those tries scored in a defined area known as the ‘Bonus Zone’.
• The ‘Bonus Zone’ is a clearly marked box, located in the in-goal area between the goal posts at each end of the playing field.
• In the event that a try is scored in the ‘Bonus Zone’, such tries shall count for five (5) points (5 Point try). The referee will signal that a “5 point try” has been scored by raising his hand into the air and extending his fingers to indicate that the try counts for five points.
• If the ball is placed partly on the ‘Bonus Zone’ marking and the remainder of the in-goal (except the dead ball line) the try will deemed to have been scored in the ‘Bonus Zone’.
• All try conversions shall be taken by way of dropkick in line with where the try was scored and will count for two (2) points.
• All penalty kicks at goal shall be taken by way of a drop kick from the point at which the penalty is awarded and will be worth two (2) points.
• A field goal in general play shall be awarded as one (1) point.

• All kick offs to re-start play, other than for the start of each half, shall be taken by way of drop-kick which must travel ten (10) metres in a forward direction and land in the field of play.
• All ‘Drop Kick Off’ re-starts shall be taken by the scoring team.
• The kick off to commence each half shall be taken by a place kick which must travel ten (10) metres in a forward direction and land in the field of play.

• The period of temporary suspension shall be five (5) minutes or, in the event that a match is completed within this period, the period of temporary suspension shall be until the completion of the match.

• A team in possession of the football shall be allowed four successive play the balls.
• A handover shall occur after the fourth play-the-ball when the team is (a) tackled for the fifth time, or (b) they commit a breach, or (c) in the event that a player is held up in-goal.

In the event of a match ending with the scores equal after regular time, the following process shall determine the winner of the match:
• Teams will change ends and a period of “Extra Time – Golden Try” will be played.
• The team that kicked off to commence the first half of the match will kick off to commence the “Extra Time – Golden Try” period.
• The winner of the match shall be determined to be the team which scores the first try in this (“Extra Time – Golden Try”) period of play. Full Time shall be called immediately after the try has been awarded.
• For Qualifying Round matches, the duration of the “Extra Time - Golden Try” period shall not exceed five (5) minutes. In the event that no try has been scored at the conclusion of this time period, the match shall be deemed a draw, and competition points awarded accordingly (See Note 9 below).
• For all Finals’ matches (Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final), the match will continue until a try is scored.
• Usual rugby league modes of scoring, such as Field-Goals (in general play) and Penalty Goals shall carry no point’s value during this “Extra Time – Golden Try” period.

Competition points for the qualifying rounds shall be awarded as follows:
• Win: 2 points
• Draw: 1 point
• Loss: 0 points