Rule changes under the microscope

Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper have struck up a partnership to take on the thankless task of referees' coach, with Raper in charge of liaising with clubs and coaches and running training sessions, while Harrigan will look after performance, rules and appointments.

Over the off-season, Harrigan and Raper met with former players, coaches and current players and devised a set of rule changes for the upcoming season, the changes were publicly revealed on Tuesday.

So with the season upon us we should take a little bit of a closer look at what will be different this season.

1. Defenders will be rewarded for making a good 'legs' tackle, with referees allowing them more time. They will also be allowed, within reason, to spin on top if they are the lone defender in order to get to marker.

This is a great change, as much as Phil Gould says it is wrong, it is the way most of us were encouraged to tackle as youngsters, it looks great and it's effective. I find myself