Words like "important milestone" were bandied about by IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset when the announcement was made today that some ELVs will be trialled throughout the game, some ELVs (mainly the free kicks instead of penalties nonsense) would be trialled in a selected 'elite' Northern Hemisphere competition (I vote for the meaningless Anglo-Welsh tin cup), some (including the daft handling in the ruck idea) will be referred back to the shadowy Laws Project Group for further reflection (or filing in the nearest bin) and the Southern Hemisphere will continue to go their own merry way continuing to play to their own rules until summer 2009.
For "important milestone" read "utter shambles."
The 13 ELVs to be inflicted on us are:
- Assistant Referees can assist referees in any manner required when appointed by a match organiser [Fair enough - no big deal]
- The corner posts are no longer considered to be in touch in-goal except when a ball is grounded against the post [sensible]
- If a team puts the ball back into their own 22 and the ball is subsequently kicked directly into touch there is no gain of ground [seems universally popular, but let's see how it works]
- A quick throw may be thrown in straight or towards the throwing team's own goal line [effectively signalling the beginning of the end for lineouts and, consequently, very tall players]
- There is no restriction on the number of players who can participate in the lineout from either side (minimum of two) [watch the midfield fill with forwards]
- The receiver in a lineout must stand 2 metres back from the lineout [why, exactly?]
- The player who is in opposition to the player throwing in the ball may stand in the area between the 5 metre line and touch line but must be 2 metres away from the lineout [huh? - I thought the idea was to make laws easier to understand?]
- Lineout players may pre-grip a jumper before the ball is thrown in [pretty much as they do already]
- The lifting of lineout jumpers is permitted [already the law, no?]
- Players are able to defend a maul by pulling it down [NOOOOOooooooooooooooooo!]
- Remove reference in Law to heads and shoulders not to be lower than hips [surely that's dangerous?]
- Introduction of an offside line five metres behind the hindmost feet of the scrum [the ONLY really good idea]
- Scrum half offside lines (must be in close proximity to the scrum as present Law or must retreat five metres) [unnecessary]
I suppose we should be thankful to get away with just 13 - but I've a horrible feeling that this is only the beginning...