Rolling Substitutions

Rolling Substitutions Law in Leinster Rugby

The Rolling Substitution Law is now in the Laws of the Game:

A Union may implement rolling substitutions at defined levels of the Game within its jurisdiction.
The number of substitutions must not exceed twelve. The administration and rules relating to rolling substitutions are the responsibility of the Union having jurisdiction.

A set of rules and procedures for the smooth operation of the rolling substitution process has been formulated by Leinster Rugby and is set out below:

Leinster Branch Rolling Substitution Rules and Process

1. A maximum of 12 substitutions (Changes) per team per match will be allowed.

2. Changes under this Law shall include blood replacements and injuries; indeed any time one player replaces another player from the same team other than front-row replacements required after a yellow card (see 6. below).

3. When a player has a blood injury and is replaced by another player and then returns to the field of play within the permitted time that will count as 2 changes.

4. When a player is sent from the field of play under a red card that is not a change.

5. When a player is temporarily suspended under a yellow card and leaves the field of play that is not a change.

6. When a scrum is ordered during the temporary suspension of a front-row player (Player A), and as a result a player (Player B) is required to leave the field to allow another front-row player (Player C) to come on that does NOT count as a change.
If, at the end of the period of temporary suspension, Player A resumes and Player C leaves the field, that does NOT count as a change.
Player B returning to the field of play is also NOT a change.
If, however, the team opts to leave Player C on at the end of the temporary suspension period instead of Player A returning that IS a change.

7. After all 12 changes have been made, no other changes will be allowed for whatever reason including injuries. If, after the 12 changes have been made there is any reason for a player to leave the field of play, the team must play on with one less player. Uncontested scrums will apply if this involves a front-row player.

8. It shall be for the Leinster Branch to determine who shall be responsible for administering and counting the changes and how. An optional Procedural Guideline follows.

Procedural Guideline for the Administration and Control of Rolling Substitutions at Matches:

A. Each team will have a set (12) of cards (each set will be a different colour)

B. Each team shall appoint its responsible person (e.g. Coach) who shall be required to hand the appropriate change card in the correct sequence to the referee, touch judge, or 4th official. This must happen before each change takes place and a player enters the field of play. There is no requirement to record or write anything on the card.

C. The referee, touch judge, or 4th official shall receive and retain the cards during the match and shall monitor each team’s use of its changes. The referee is not required to record any information but shall retain the submitted cards until after the end of the match.