Sunday, 19 October 2008

Another voice of reason...

It seems that even Australians are starting to see sense when it comes to the ELVs.

The Sunday Times reports that a review of the ELVs, written by former Wallaby centre and Australian national coaching director Dick Marks, heavily criticises both the ELVs themselves and the strong-arm tactics employed by the IRB to ensure that they are implemented.

A link to the full report can be found below but the best line for me is:

“Even if the ball is marginally more in play, that's not much use when it's 50 meters up in the air.”


Pablo said...

I heartily agree with Marks' observations about the way in which the ELVs have been trialled. It's an absolute joke, with so many different combinations in effect over the course of the year and in many ways the trial has focused on the "wrong" ideas.

It's not as simple as "all ELVs are bad", though - some, such as the 5m offside line at the scrum do actually seem to be a good idea, having the desired effect of creating more space and opportunity for creative attack. The fact that many are poor ideas (pulling down the maul, free kicks at the breakdown - mercifully not trialled globally) shouldn't blind us to the ones which have merit.

However, I take considerable exception to his final recommendation: "Award the game to the team that scores the most tries and use the kicking points to resolve a draw on a count back." It's a SPECTACULARLY bad idea, as it removes all incentive to stay on the right side of the law. Many streetwise teams cynically infringe in defense on the belief that conceding 3 points is better than conceding 7 - the Wasps side that won the Heineken Cup in 2004 were especially good at that. Can you imagine how much worse the problem would be if a team knew that no amount of kicked goals could beat their one try?

As unentertaining a spectacle as penalty goals might be, they are a necessary deterrent against wholesale cheating by a defending side. That final recommendation sadly damages the credibility of an otherwise well written article.

Stomper said...

Mark's makes a good contribution to the debate about the merits of the ELVs and isn't that the purpose of the E (Experimental)?

He is spot on about the fragmented way in which the ELVs are being trialled - after the S14 and 3N we should have taken a breather and assessed the impact of the ELVs at that point, then decided which rules would be trialled further.

I agree 100% that the following ELVs should be abandoned;

- collapsing the maul - dangerous and removes one of the attacking options

- passing back into the 22 - should be allowed - I'd rather see a lineout and change in possession than endless upfield kicks

- turnover at the breakdown - should result in the awarding of a scrum (yes, some of us like them!) Not sure who I would award the scrum to - defending or attacking side? One of the down sides of turning over posession to the defending side is that the likelihood of losing the ball in own territory results in more kicks - no team wants to get caught turning over the ball in their territory.

- sanctions law - for me the jury is out - I hate games won by unadventurous sides that rely on penalties to win (anyone say England?) - but if the sanctions law causes teams to infringe repeatedly then either - reduce the points for a penalty to 2 - or yellow cards a player after the 3rd team infringement.

There remain some ELVs that just make sense - 5 metres behind the scrum - quick line out rule - change in corner posts - make sense.

I agree with Marks that the laws should be enforced IN PARTICULAR FEEDING THE BALL STRAIGHT INTO SCRUMS and, as I have said before - BRING BACK RUCKING.

So, for me, we need to continue to debate the merits of the ELVs and introduce those which make sense and improve the