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New Stellenbosch Laws - Good or Bad?

I like the rule about kicking from inside 22.

absolutely indifferent about the rule on corner flags.

Do not like the rule about collapsing mauls because it is dangerous . I thought the main reason why collapsing a maul is not allowed is because of the safety issues.

And also the rules about scrum, maul, breakdown will encourage running and open play which is good but only up to some extent. We already have a ball game where running skills are dominant, it's called Rugby League. Rucks, scrums and mauls are what makes Union different (and why a lot of people like it more). It seems to me that if all laws are implemented in the current form they really might "kill" the forward play in some sense. It looks like even if your forwards are 10 times better it would not matter much (since all mauls are collapsed and scrums are isolated).

Regardless, the laws have to be tested on higher level and then it will be easier to judge.
Some of the rules there are fine with me and should make rugby more enjoyable. But the rules to do with the rucks and mauls are a joke! Firstly pulling down a maul is downright dangerous and takes away one of the techniques you learn as a forward. Secondly hands in the ruck is just stupid, the reason it's called a ruck is because you 'ruck' the ball. If you can use your hands it just makes it too easy to spoil.
Well the battle over Stellenboche begins.

Covert Rugby League fan, embarrasment to Australia and general cockmongrel John O'Neil piped up in way only he knows how.

On the other side however, fellow Australian and ever industrious coach Eddie Jones has come out against Stellenboche.

Myself, I've been mulling over the changes and have no objection to things such as changing how far back the players stand at the scrum, also, preventing players from kicking from the 22 might be a blessing in disguise. Usually if a team is kicking from the 22, it'll be because they're under serious pressure and as a result allot of kicks are spooned anyway.

But others such as allowing handling in the rucks and collapsing the maul are total lunacy.
the new rules, especially about the mauls are gonna change the game completely, dont know if that is what we really want to see. Im satisfied with how it s been played over the past few years
I've watched the clips of Paddy O'Brien on youtube and heard him explain the rationale behind them. Some, such as creating more room for backs at scrum-time, touch judges determining the offside line, moving the corner flags and kicking from the 22 being tweaked make total sense and will help free up the game a little without completely changing it. Others such as hands in the ruck, collapsing a maul and changing the penalty laws must be trialled more before they're implemented (perhaps Barbarians games could be played under these rules?) but my gut instinct tells me they're no better than the laws already in place.

Shaun Edwards spoke during the week about what he'd like to do to speed up the game:
Adopting the experimental Stellenbosch laws won't sort rugby out, but changing the rules on kicking will.[/b]
Link: It's the up-and-under that needs a crackdown

The crux of that blog is that Edwards wants to depower the garryowen so that defenders catching the ball can't be penalised for holding on in the tackle. I think that's a ludicrous proposition. The up-and-under has a place in rugby and can be exciting. True, it was overused in the World Cup but that was due to defenses having the upper hand. More diligent patrolling of offside and defending at ruck time would solve that.

There was some merit to what Edwards said though. This caught my eye:
That any kick running into the in-goal area - not just over the dead-ball line - which doesn't result in a try should give the defending side the option of a scrum back where the ball was kicked or a drop-out from the 22-metre line, as now. The reasoning is obvious and should, I hope, cut out much of low-risk, badly executed and speculative kicking.[/b]
He was speaking in terms of kicks from open play and I fully endorse this. I'd go one step further though. Any missed place kick or drop goal that runs into the in-goal area or over the dead ball line should give the defending side the option of a scrum back where it was kicked or a 22 drop out.

I'd hazard a guess that at least five place kicks per game are missed. That wastes roughly five minutes of game time for what are largely speculative attempts from around the half way line. If the attacking team knew they ran the risk of conceding more than just a 22 drop out from a missed kick, it may spur them into kicking to the corner and building an attacking platform rather than taking the easy option. It would increase the importance of lineouts and potentially scrums which goes a long way towards differentiating the sport from League while also encouraging attacking rugby. The rule change wouldn't penalise accurate kickers, merely discourage negative play from inadequate kickers and also help do away with time wasting towards the end of games.

Drop goals also have there place in rugby and well executed drop goals, such as Joel Stransky's World Cp winning attempt, Jonny Wilkinson's similar effort (albeit after a multitude of misses) and Juan Hernandez's multiple shots add to the sport. However some teams overuse this option. I read a stat which stated that roughly 80% of drop goal attempts in the World Cup were missed. The only "penalty" teams got for taking this option was a 22 drop out for there opponents which would more often than not see the team who kicked the ball initially win it back. That's an anomaly which should be fixed. Once again, if you know that you'll lose possession due to a missed kick, will you still attempt it or will you play more attacking, exciting rugby?
Hi all,
Reading through the thread I am still not sure about some of the laws - but here are some thoughts on the main contentious ones:

Kicking - the ELV states that you can't run back into the 22 to kick as well as just passing back - all in all I think this is an OK rule although it may result in even more 'ping-pong', not going to stop you kicking it just you can't kick into touch, so the opposition hoof it back to you so you have to do it again etc. On the other hand it might make you run it out - will be interesting to see it in action at a higher level.

Scrums - OK as is IMHO but it may be OK, 5m extra to get up a head of steam may work, the number 7 is further away but then the fly half is 5m further back from the game line in effect and in the 22m zone can't hoof it to touch so maybe he'll still get the hit in :)

Mauls - on the face of it sounds dangerous but then you are expecting it and they will be off the ground a lot less time, rolling mauls will still work but will have to be better organised. Don't like the idea though esp for us Northern Hemi people in the mud in mid winter - the whole game could be one big heap in the centre of the pitch for most of the game!

rucks - look at current high level games - we are almost there anyway, will make the refs job easier as well.

Penalties - really need to see this is action.


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