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Steve Tew

Steve Tew

Creating time and space in attack, and clarity at the breakdown are at the top of the New Zealand Rugby Union’s(NZRU) early wish-list as it ponders how to improve the game for fans and players.

Current NZRU CEO Steve Tew said that “there is clearly a growing frustration on the over-emphasis on defence. We are looking at ways to create more time and space for the ball.”

World Rugby, rugby’s global governing body, is conducting a law review process which could see trials of new or revised rules in place as early as next year.

The NZRU has been gathering information from stakeholders about what is perceived to be right and wrong about the game and, more importantly, what could make it better.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie will sit on the World Rugby’s Laws Representation Group that will consider recommendations from around the globe in the middle of the year.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the NZRU was in the early stages of consultation, but that a recent workshop had indicated a desire to see the pendulum swing back toward the attacking side.

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Varsity CupThe FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International for 2015 is set to continue its grand tradition of trying out experimental laws, further cementing the tournament’s status as a testing ground for the laws of rugby.

This season sees the exciting reintroduction of the WHITE CARD – which was used in the inaugural 2008 Varsity Cup Final. The WHITE CARD is a card that can be used by either coach or captain to review a decision by the referee.

This exciting experiment is endorsed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU). Andre Watson, SARU General Manager Referees, had the following to say on the WHITE CARD.

“This is a step in the right direction to assist referees to get that important decision correct, and to put some responsibility on the captain and coaches to help with the process.”

The WHITE CARD challenge system is to only be used during the Varsity Cup. The team challenge, or WHITE CARD, can be called by the team coach or captain.

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Spiro Zavos

Spiro Zavos

When Steve Hansen says the laws of rugby need to be revised, modified and made easier to play, to referee, and to understand, the rugby world should take notice.

The All Blacks under Hansen’s adroit coaching are in an era even more golden than previous great eras.

They are not only playing winning rugby, they are playing rugby the way it is supposed to be played – with courage, physical strength, high skills and the intent to score tries while stopping opponents from doing so.

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Matthew Burke

Matthew Burke

With the recent pedantic display of refereeing, it pains me to say that the World Cup could turn into a game of whistle-blowing, ruining the experience for the spectators and more importantly the players.

Some of the technical refereeing that has been on display has eliminated any “feel” for the game.

Right now, the blokes in the middle are trying to put on their best show to be chosen to get a gig in England in 2015. But who is judging their performance so they get to secure a position as a top whistle-blower?

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Springboks vs Wales June 2014: Alun Wyn Jones & Steve Walsh discuss the Penalty Try incident

Springboks vs Wales June 2014: Alun Wyn Jones & Steve Walsh discuss the Penalty Try incident

There is always something to discuss after a rugby Test match, especially one as thrilling as this.

There are the action and the special moments to discuss, the performance of players and all to frequently the Laws of the Game, the ever-changing, confusing and after controversial Laws of the Game and the demands of applying them accurately.

There were two tries especially discussed after the Nelspruit Test – one a try by the Welsh hooker and the other the definitive penalty try near the end – and penalty tries are rare and always debated.

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John KirwanBluesBlues coach Sir John Kirwan believes he has the solution to rugby’s scrum problems and wants changes to be made immediately.

The 63-cap former All Blacks wing wants changes to occur to the scrum law in the middle of the season, in order to solve the issues and thinks that the IRB and SANZAR should work together to ensure the decisions are made.

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WhistleWe have two incidents from Super Rugby in the last two weeks which are worth looking at, both incidents which caused debate and argument and even acrimony.

We are dealing with decisions by top referees in top matches when speed is an essential ingredient, including the speed match officials need to process the information, even when they have help from the replays provided by the TMO.

There is never a rest from debate and argument when it comes to rugby football, certainly not in the application of the most complex set of laws of any sport – a contact sport played by 30 vigorous young men in physical contact in a confined space.

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IRBThe International Rugby Board (IRB) is set to ditch the ‘YES NINE’ scrum call in favour of a non-verbal, pre-agreed instruction.

The change will take place with immediate effect, and will be introduced at all levels of the game.

Referees will no longer give a verbal instruction of ‘YES NINE’, and instead will issue a non-verbal instruction to the scrumhalf when he considers the scrum to be square and stable.

The non-verbal instruction must be agreed by the referee and both scrumhalves prior to the start of the game and could be in the form of a tap on the back while the referee is on the side of the put-in, or an agreed signal (nod of the head or hand signal) by the referee while he is on the other side of the scrum.

AfriForumCivil rights organisation AfriForum has warned SARU in a letter that its decision to implement racial quotas in the Vodacom Cup would constitute a violation of the IRB’s prohibition on racial discrimination.

SARU was also informed in the letter that the Olympic Charter, with which rugby has to comply as Olympic sport, explicitly prohibits racial discrimination.

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Ewen McKenzieGeorgina Robinson of the Sydney Morning Herald, a pleasant lady who sat next to me at Loftus Versfeld during Super Rugby… or was it a Test between the Springboks and Wallabies, wrote an article about Ewen McKenzie, Wallabies coach, complaining bitterly about the unfair treatment the Wallabies scrum gets, due to the perceptions of the quality or lack of quality of Wallaby scums of recent years.

Now understand me clear here, I do not moan over Georgina article, after all she has a duty to report the news when it presents itself – and generally she is a fair lass as far as rugby matters go, in my opinion one of the better rugby scribes from Down Under.

The beef that I have is the smoke and mirrors, the side-show that Ewen McKenzie is trying to conjure up and the smoke he is trying to blow up the IRB and our combined arses, to make up for absolutely woeful Wallaby scrummaging!

We’re going to look at Georgina’s Article in the Sydney Morning Herald first… thereafter we will look at a video clip analising all 17 scrums in the recent Test between England and the Wallabies (a must watch clip) and finally, each will come to his or her own conclusion, mine being to laugh at McKenzie’s antics in disgust and disbelief!

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ScrumAlready the moaning has started. The scrums are going down too often. They are ruining the spectacle. Let the scrum-halves just throw the ball into the second row like they do in league. It is all predictably negative and misses the point entirely.

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LawsThis is going to be a very short article. Maybe it will be removed, but do we really talk RUGBY or are we just moaning, bitching, complaining about things that went wrong for OUR teams.

I want us to talk about the deeper things in the game we love. Laws, interpretations, bad coaching, player stupidity.

Let’s try and have a free for all on this article.

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LawsThe South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced on Tuesday that it would implement a new set of experimental Laws in all local competitions from Friday.

The Laws have been developed by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and are expected to result in more continuity in matches and reduce the risk of serious injuries.

Key features are a new scrum engagement sequence, stricter policing of the scrum feed, adjustments to judicial sanctions and strengthening of concussion protocols.

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Our sport is more enjoyable to watch than it was in the olden times when I was young, but there are a few things about the modern game I would rather be without. (I read this and posted it, purely because of Lee Grants obvious hatred of our boys, which he mentions on several occasions. What are your thoughts?)

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The Bulls won’t even make it through to the knockout stages in defence of their Super rugby title, says former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick. And Fitzpatrick launched a scathing critique of the Pretoria-based team’s failings in this year’s Super 15, as they crashed to defeat against the Western Force in Perth.

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