,00.htmlBret Harris | August 20, 2007

WALLABIES coach John Connolly has expressed concern about two of the experimental laws which may be introduced to the game after the World Cup in France.

The so-called Stellenbosch Laws are designed to simplify the game and make it a more entertaining spectacle.
But Connolly was not sure whether the law variations, which would allow collapsing the maul and hands in the ruck, would enhance the game or not.
"I like most of them," Connolly said. "I guess there are two I'd like to look at and need more time to think about.

"The pulling down of a maul. That would be a safety issue for me. And the other one is hands in the ruck.
"We've got seven or eight weeks to look at these (in the Australian Rugby Championship).

"They are the two, whether they are good or bad ...I think you have to wait and see how coaches react to them and what short-cuts they put in place, especially the hands in the ruck.

"In the long term it could slow the ball down, but I'm only saying that. It's not something I'm sure about.
"It may be the best thing in the world. I don't think we can rush into these.
"What we can say is the (ARC) competition has been great and the law changes on the whole have been very positive.
"Whether we get them all through the IRB remains to be seen, but it's a wonderful step in the right direction. I think it's been great for the game."

One of the aims of the experimental laws is to reduce subjectivity in refereeing decisions.
But pile-ups in the ruck with hands all over the ball have the potential to increase subjectivity in referee's calls.

"They are the issues you wan't to take out of the game," Connolly said.
"You want to try to take the referee out of the equation as much as you can. Who's not on their feet? Who's slowing the ball down? They are things that have to be analysed.
"I haven't done that. I'm sure the (Rod) Macqueens and the people in charge of implementing these will do that."

Connolly hailed the ARC competition as "a tremendous plus for Australian rugby" which has allowed the showcasing of players like Kurtley Beale.
"The laws have changed a little bit," Connolly said. "The game has evolved over the last 12 years and it is now very attack focused.

"We went through a period where we played target rugby. Before that we played let's hang on to the ball like unlimited tackle.

"It's evolving all the time. Coaches are working at playing the ball in contact."
Connolly was confident number eights Wycliff Palu (shoulder) and David Lyons (blood clot) would both be fit for the cup, although there was some concern about prop Guy Shepherdson.

"Palu and Lyons we are very happy with," Connolly said. "Guy Shepherdson has a bit of a knock on his knee, which is a bit of a concern for us.
"Hopefully, it will be OK, but they are the three who are carrying injuries to some extent."

The Wallabies will spend four days in camp in Sydney before departing for Portugal on Thursday for another week's training on the Algarve. After a stopover in Paris the Wallabies will arrive at their World Cup base in Montpellier on August 31.

"There is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes by the management in terms of getting things organised," Connolly said. "That takes a day in itself.
"We've got three days of training before we go, which is important. The players have been working very hard behind the scenes.

"Hopefully, that will top it off. When we get to Portugal, the week's camp, hopefully will put some polish on it."