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The 2021 Digicel Cup is set to be played under new rules, with the PNG Rugby Football League adopting the rule changes ratified by the International Rugby League (IRL) at its last board meeting.

The new rules are set to be rolled out to the PNGRFL member association and school competitions which will kick off from May 22 this year.

The new rule changes include:

  • Hand Over Rule : The rule will apply in the following situations.
    • Incorrect play-the-ball
    • Kick that finds touch on the fifth tackle
    • If the ball or a player with the ball enters touch
  • Scrum Changes :
    • Referees will now say ‘break’ when the ball comes out of the scrum
    • Both sides of the scrum must stay in the pack until the referee calls ‘break’
    • Penalty for early breaking is a full penalty (not differential) to the non-offending team
    • If any backline players are found offside at a scrum, the non-offending team shall restart play with a zero-tackle count.
  • 20/40 Rule : A┬áball kicked in general play from inside the 20-metre area into touch inside the opponents 40-metre area will result in a tap re-start for the kicking team.
  • Two-Point Field Goal : Two points will be awarded for a field goal kicked during general play. The kick must be taken from outside the 40m.
  • Tackle Restart : A tackle restart can be given for the following infringements:
    • All ruck infringements
    • All marker infringements
    • All ‘inside the 10m’ / off-side infringements

The adoption of the new rules will align the PNGRFL with the new International Rules of the game.

The PNGRFL will work with all member associations and stakeholders to ensure a smooth and effective transition into the new rules.