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Rolling substitutions will be available to coaches for the first time in senior professional rugby in South Africa in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, which kicks off with six matches this weekend.

This decision was taken following law workshops held by SA Rugby’s Referee Department in Johannesburg and Cape Town with the SuperSport Rugby Challenge head coaches from all the provincial unions (the Vodacom Blue Bulls were unable to attend), where this use of a law amendment was unanimously agreed to.

Teams will be allowed to use 12 rolling substitutions during each match, of which four must be reserved for players in the front row.

At the workshops, it was also agreed that any team that causes uncontested scrums, will be reduced to 14 players on the field until the end of the match, while coaches will have the option of selecting four or five forwards on their seven-man bench.

“The workshops were very interesting as it gave us an opportunity to listen to the coaches and how they see things happening on the field from a law and refereeing angle,” explained Banks Yantolo, SA Rugby’s Referee Manager.

“The decision to allow rolling substitutions, which we’re already using in our Under-19 Provincial Championship, was done with player welfare and safety, especially at scrums, as well as reducing the likelihood of uncontested scrums to protect the integrity of the game, in mind.”

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