Players injured on international duty and their professional clubs will benefit from enhanced financial protection after World Rugby announced amendments to its regulations covering compensation.
Viewed as a positive move for players, unions and clubs, the financial cap on a union’s liability for player release stipulated under regulation nine will more than double to £500,000 ($636,000/€567,000) up to a period of 12 months of temporary injury.
Approval by the World Rugby Council at its annual meeting in Dublin follows a comprehensive review of regulations nine and 23 in consultation with unions and professional clubs and will operate from July 1, in advance of 2019 Rugby World Cup preparation camps and matches.
World Rugby will also continue to provide an insurance option for unions under its dedicated global policy, reflecting its continued support of tier two nations.
The package of changes includes an enhanced check-in/check-out process for players when transitioning between their club and international teams.
It compliments the requirement for all players to participate in load monitoring in order to play at the Rugby World Cup, reducing the risk of injury via identification of risk situations.
"The welfare of players is our primary responsibility and we continually review the game’s regulations and laws to ensure that they are in step with a modern, evolving rugby environment and support the players, who are the beating heart of our sport," World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said.
"This announcement is more than a regulatory change, it is a statement of commitment to players, unions and clubs.
"Everyone now has certainty ahead of the Rugby World Cup of an appropriate and proportional level of guaranteed cover should an injury occur whilst on international duty during the sport’s biggest event.
"I would like to thank my union colleagues for their consideration of this important matter and the professional clubs for their full engagement and positive support of the world’s top players representing their nation on the sport’s biggest stage."
The World Rugby Council also approved amendments to three other regulations at its annual meeting.
In terms of regulation eight, which relates to eligibility, there has been the furthering of the obligation for unions to ensure that they maintain accurate and complete records of international player "capture" and that appropriate and timely responses are given to requests for eligibility status.
As for regulation six, which relates to anti-corruption and betting, unions have been given further powers to access mobile communication data during an investigation and clarify the sanctions that will apply to breaches of it.
"These changes highlight the sport’s clear commitment in this important area," a World Rugby statement reads.
Regulation four, which relates to anti-poaching, has also been changed to clarify which "contracted persons" are captured by the anti-poaching provisions, and to confirm that it is permitted for players and contracted persons to have discussions within the final six months of their contracts.
Last month, World Rugby completed a key review of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan which it claimed suggested it is going to be a successful event.
The governing body carried out three days of review meetings and cited strong ticket sales, hosting progress and record legacy outcomes as strong indicators it would prove a positive tournament.
World Rugby also believes it is on track to be the most widely-viewed, digitally engaged and socially and economically impactful rugby event ever staged.
Competition is due to run from September 20 to November 2.