The changes also include a move to delay talent selection in order to keep more players in the game, decreasing the chance of losing players who could develop physically and technically and cognitively at a later stage.
The aim of the reforms are; to create a more open, attacking game conducive to fun and enjoyment and with an emphasis on developing core skills.
These changes have been implemented to meet the following criteria:
* Drastically increase ball in play time
* Halve the time spent in the breakdown area
* Increase offloads by 40%
* Dramatically increase the number of passes in a game, and the number of passes per phase
The changes are being implemented across all mini and junior rugby (Under 8 to Under 16) in schools and clubs from the start of next season with grassroots coaches who have trialled the new laws which many commented that they believe they have already benefitted the development of players.
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland is fully supportive of the changes, highlighting the long term benefits of the move, "I fully endorse the 'Minis to Millennium' Rugby Pathway Programme. It encourages more young players to develop and enjoy many aspects of the modern game", he said.
"I believe it will enhance the progression of the core elements of the player for the long term benefit of the game in Wales by concentrating on basic skills at an early age including passing, catching, running, offloading and continuity, traditionally the strengths and uniqueness of Welsh rugby.
"As the player gets older he is then introduced to the finer details of the game.
For coaches there are specific goals to achieve at each level which ultimately makes their job easier and we should end up with a more skilled player in the long run."
Also behind the re-structure is WRU Development Manager Jason Lewis, "We conducted an in-depth review into mini and junior rugby at the end of the 2009/10 season which showed that certain rules in the game at that level were ineffective at providing a game that promotes attacking, running rugby that is enjoyable and aids a smooth progression into the full game, emphasising the core elements of effective play" said Lewis.
"Within the pathway the importance of the coach in understanding their role is also vital within the stages of development of the player.
"Of particular concern to us was the contact area at Under 9 to Under 11 where we identified a need to reduce static pile-ups and improve continuity, and the scrum area where we felt too much information was introduced to players too late in their development.
"We then amended the rules at different stages of the players' development and rolled out an extensive pilot of the new format.
"We believe the new rules, added to the decision to delay talent selection will fundamentally improve player enjoyment, participation levels and player development.
"The new structure also provides specific target areas for developing players within each age group, providing a focus for junior coaches and enabling players to progress within the game without overloading them at an early age."
All clubs, schools and coaches have received an extensive booklet 'Minis to Millennium' that outlines the full player pathway model.
In addition to the law changes, delaying talent selection is also a major amendment to the current process.
Currently in Wales players are identified early (Under 11) and a long time is spent developing those few players in the 'system'. However, the evidence suggests that talent identification should be an ongoing process that keeps as many players as possible involved and receiving development. And there is no research at present to support the early identification or development of players.
It is fair to say that any system will identify some players, but the question that can't be answered currently is how many players do we miss through early selection?
WRU Head of Rugby Joe Lydon said, "Early identification and selection is often based around factors centred round maturation - size, pace, agility which are not good predictors of future ability as no player at Under 11 - Under 13 has fully developed.
"There are a host of external factors which could determine the ability to select talent at a young age - parental involvement, socio-economic factors such as parental income, transport, geography, school all impact on the performance of a player at a young age.
"We are a relatively small rugby nation that consistently punches about its size on the international stage but to excel we must maximise the number of players capable of stepping up to the next level, at every stage of the development process. We must begin to think of the talent development pathway, as a pyramid that provides all players opportunity and letting their own ability determine their limits, rather than our structures.
"Competition is important in order to develop culture, values and a winning ethos but when and how players are introduced into representative competition is vital.