The Varsity Cup rugby coaches will need to keep their wits about them following the introduction of a power play rule for the 2018 tournament.
The latest innovation in the student competition will allow the team calling the power play to remove two backline players from the opposition for three minutes.
The power play can only be called by a team while they are in their own half, must be called by the captain, and can be called only once.
If the team whose players have been removed score a try during the power play period, it will be worth seven points, instead of five.
University of Johannesburg coach Werner Janse van Rensburg said it was perhaps too early to work out the exact implications of the new rule.
“To be honest, I don’t think anyone can speculate about how it is going to turn out because nobody has been exposed to this sort of thing before.
“As a team we have had a few discussions about it, but we are still very much in the preliminary stage.
“It’s not going to be straightforward at all because you’ll have to try to estimate what the opposition coach will do.”
He added that they would only get a real taste of how the rule would affect a match in their opening fixture against Stellenbosch in Johannesburg on January 29.
Janse van Rensburg said they would be losing a number of senior players for next year’s competition, but would have a nucleus of experience in the squad.
“We’ll be young in some areas, such as the backline and loose trio, but it’s the nature of the competition and not necessarily a bad thing.
“The new players will have plenty of incentive to show what they can do.”