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Rules and Technicalities...  *sigh*
Rules and Technicalities...  *sigh*
(too much whistle…)
11 Mar 1999
[RANT]

How many Rugby fans out there feel that they aren't watching a game of rugby anymore when they tune into a match...?  I don't know what those IRB plonkers think they are doing, but the new rules and "interpretations" aren't improving the game at all.

It seems we have a central figure on the field who rather than "enabling" the game, is controlling and strangling the game. Our favourite ref, Mr Paul Honiss would be a classic example.  He has transformed games into a conducted orchestrated performance. And a bad one at that. Players no longer decide when a ball is free of a ruck, or when to engage a scrum, or when a player is actually tackled... they are told.  Next step will be Mr Honiss suggesting good set pieces at penalty time!   The term "playing advantage" seems to be forgotten as strict adherance to the rules has become so important, coincidentally in World Cup year when referees are vying for the top jobs.

I heard English sportswriter Stephen Jones on RadioSport last night discussing the new rules. He was positive and confident that the new rules and consistent interpretation by the referees was a good thing.  They would soon transform the free running exciting rugby we enjoy in the Southern Hemisphere into "real" rugby as played in the frozen north.  Real rugby where the forwards play with grit, determined resolve and hard graft.  His belief that high scoring matches and free running rugby was not good rugby seemed strange. So excuse me for saying "bollocks"! But I think he's wrong...  New Zealand crowds do not want to see low scoring games decided by penalties, and will NEVER grow to like it as he suggested.

I guess one good point Jones had was that the rules as they stand allow teams to control the ball for long periods of time, provided they interpret the tackle ball situations correctly.  The days of the 50/50 ball at tackle time are gone... Same goes for lineouts where the lifting rule all but precludes any chance of the opposition securing possession.  Somewhat similar to Rugby league, where ball retention is paramount.  This can lead to somewhat "formula" rugby where teams follow patterns to ensure possession or to milk penalties.   Obviously the rules are designed to encourage continuous flowing gameplay and exciting watchable rugby.    But this then raises the question...   Why the hell are the referees insisting on stoppping the game at every possible moment! Has Mr Honiss swallowed his whistle?

My hope is that come World Cup time, the Southern Hemisphere teams will not only beat their Northern counterparts, but that they will also score heavily against them!  All that is required is a good understanding of the rules and anticipation of boring spoiling "real" rugby from some of the Five nations teams...  and of course exciting, inventive, fast rugby!

by Wobbly

Let us know what you think!

Hmmm....  Maybe Paul Honiss should carry a conductors baton as well as his whistle...  I'd sure be happy to give him some well earned stick! 

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(Although it could have just been Wobbly on the Reload button doing some serious ego padding!)