SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE PLAYERS REJECT LAW AMENDMENTS
According to a recent poll, nearly 20 per cent of rugby players in the Southern Hemisphere believe that the ELVs have had a negative impact on the game.
Really? Well, no, not really at all but the spin I've put on the figures recently publicised is only slightly more ridiculous than that being perpetuated by the southern hemisphere press.
"Southern hemisphere players endorse law amendments" they say, or "Rugby players have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the ELVs." What they mean, in fact, is that in a poll of 264 professional players, 83 per cent thought the ELVs had a positive impact on the game and 88 per cent thought they had created more continuity.
So 219 professional rugby players from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa say that the new laws are positive and the world of rugby is supposed to just roll over and say fine, let's endorse the whole package now?
I'm not saying the players' opinions aren't worth listening to - far from it - but 219 out of a world rugby playing population of lord knows how many is hardly a representative sample.
For better or for worse the rugby world has agreed, democratically, to trial 13 new laws from 1st August this year. Rather than just let us get on with it, however, the pro-ELV lobby at the IRB appears to want to pre-determine the outcome of such a trial (the main reason, I believe, why the northern hemisphere has so far rejected calls to introduce the 'free kick intead of penalty' provisions).
The bully-boy tactics of John O'Neill having patently failed, it looks as if we now face a war of attrition by means of a largely meaningless statistical bombardment...