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Thread: Clubs trial laws to simplify game

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    Clubs trial laws to simplify game

    Clubs trial laws to simplify game

    Rupert Guinness
    Wednesday, January 17, 2007


    Australian clubs will join a worldwide trial of experimental laws aimed at revamping the game when the Shute Shield starts in April.

    Rod Macqueen, the 1999 World Cup-winning Wallabies coach and just one of the principal figures behind the ongoing process of simplifying rugby's lawbook, will address the 13 Shute Shield head coaches tonight to discuss which experimental laws from the 26 that have been devised will be used in the Sydney club competition.

    It will trial four "experimental law variations", known as the Stellenbosch Laws after the South African university where the innovative project began last year. It is hoped the Brisbane club competition will follow Sydney.

    "It is a great initiative by the International Rugby Board and possibly unique to the sport. It is aimed at covering all parts of the game," Macqueen said.

    Much of the focus was on the breakdown and tackle area where, says Macqueen, "at one stage there was 32 decisions to make when someone was tackled for the referee. And in any time two or three of those have been broken." But the laws that will be on trial in Sydney will cover the receipt of ball by a defending player inside the 22-metre line, the numbers and throw-ins at the lineout, the off-side line behind a scrum and sanctions.

    Australia is not the only target for trials of the experimental law variations - or ELVs - that evolved from the IRB law book being stripped and steadily rebuilt.

    They are already being followed extensively and with success in Scotland's Super Cup, and will be trialled in other countries, such as New Zealand, England, Ireland and France.

    And while the number and type of laws to be trialled will vary from nation to nation, it is envisaged a proposed template for a new law book to be approved by the IRB will be ready for a worldwide trial by 2009.

    So what changes can Australian club rugby fans expect in this year's Shute Shield when it kicks off on April 7 with the trial laws in place?

    "The idea is to make it an easier game for the players to understand, and for the coaches; and, obviously, the spectators," Macqueen said. "You hope that they [fans] will see more rugby and less subjective decisions [by the referee]."

    Macqueen will analyse how the Sydney teams respond to the laws on the lineout that have cut restriction on numbers.

    "It will be interesting to see how teams and coaches adapt, what sort of tactics they put in knowing they have the ball and how many players they put into it," he said.

    Based on trials so far, it is also anticipated the five metre offside line behind scrums will free up space and heighten the scrum's role.

    "We should see, for instance, more back-row moves being played because we have a little bit more room," said Macqueen, who has been working on these experimental law variations for the IRB with a rich think-tank of rugby knowledge and experience that includes Frenchman Pierre Villepreux, Scot Richie Dixon, Ian McIntosh of South Africa and New Zealand's Graham Mourie.

    "Over the last 100 years we have continually added laws. It has been an issue," Macqueen said. "We have basically been treating the symptoms rather than the cause, so there is also a knock-on effect with these things.

    "A lot of the time they are not seen until two or three years later. It's a bit like our Australian taxation system, laws get continually added. Since Stellenbosch we have taken a lot of laws out and have now started to add some.

    "You can't really achieve what you aim to without going back to the start and then start to add. It is very important to realise that the whole idea of this is to get it right. We are not saying these are the right laws but certainly we are seeing some very positive signs. There is a realisation that we really do need to do something."

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    interesting...

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    Player Rodent's Avatar
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    Whats interesting is that they are only trialling certain rules. I guess they would select a group of rules for a similar area.
    There are some really interesting changes in the rules at the breakdown (allowed to play the ball on the ground and use hands in the ruck) which despite sounding like they would slow the game down actually speeds it up significantly.

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    I reckon their thinking would be if they chaned all the rules there would be too much confusion to evaluate the individual changes?
    They did run a full comp to trial it at Stellenbosch though, about eight teams as I recall.
    The hands in the ruck one has always pissed me off, I reckon that would be so easy to stamp out, yellow card anyone "McCawing" on the first offence. It is not a grey area for mine, everyone playing knows if it is a ruck or not, keep your bloody hands out of it!
    That said, to allow hands will see far greater quick phases and, as a result, probably more tries out wide or in the forwards.
    Although historically, as soon as there has been a rule change someone works out a way to nullify it!
    I've got a pretty open mind to it all and will be watching on with interest.
    Any word on the local scene if RWA are to trial anything?

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    Player Rodent's Avatar
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    I'm with you on the open mindedness (is that even a word??). Personally I think anything that takes ambiguity out of the game, and reduces the interference a ref has is a good thing. The less they are involved the better.

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    Player O'Regan's Avatar
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    Stellenbosh rules do sound interesting, will it go for the whole season or what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodent
    .... mindedness (is that even a word??)....
    Certainly is
    It will have to run for whatever comp it is applied to O'Regan to be an even playing field (teams still want the trophy!) however, in Australia it would look like it will only be in the Shute Shield rather than both comps and I imagine the same would apply in Qld.

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    Veteran Contributor frontrow's Avatar
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    Some change is definately needed at the breakdown, but i will wait and see if hands in the ruck is a good thing or not, although it may cut down on stamping offences...

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    Coaches put case for wider laws trial

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    The trial of experimental laws in this year's Shute Shield should be expanded to the second grade competition, club coaches believe.

    Sydney coaches have embraced the trial - part of a process to simplify the game - after hearing an address on Wednesday night from 1999 World Cup-winning Wallaby coach Rod Macqueen, one of the key figures behind the project.

    "One of the points that Darren Coleman [coach] from Norths raised, which is pretty valid, was about second grade," said Easts coach Scott Bowen. "Second grade are playing under the old laws. A lot of clubs first and second grade train together. So you might as well have them all under the same banner."

    Many second graders will be called up to first grade and required to play under four of the 26 "experimental law variations" - also known as the "Stellenbosch Laws" - that will be trialled only in first grade.

    Eastwood coach Chris Hickey believes rugby is in need of new laws. "The game has become very complicated and confusing to players and referees," he said.

    He has joined the call for second grade to be included in the trials. "Every week you have players coming up from second grade. Whether they extend those law trials to the top two grades is a possibility," he said. "That would certainly assist with the fact there is always player movement in the season. Many clubs will go through 30 players in a season."

    Randwick coach Mark Giacheri believes an extension to second grade would also help referees: "You are going to get a case where you will get [in first grade] a referee who has been in second grade jumping up to first grade," he said.

    Rupert Guinness

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