Saturday, 19 May 2012


The IRB’s announcement this week of a bunch of law trials for next season appears to have been generally well received.

Not being a huge fan of law tinkering, however, I remain unconvinced.

Many of the technical changes are largely inconsequential and are, ergo, arguably pointless.

The more prominent changes involve the role of the TMO and a new law for use of possession at the back of the ruck.

Under current rules, TMOs can only rule on events which occur in-goal and in the act of scoring a try but their jurisdiction is being extended to incidents within the field of play that have led to the scoring of a try. How far back a TMO may go, however, remains unclear. It often already takes an age for the TMO to rule on whether a try has been scored – how much longer will this take if he has to decide whether there was, say, a forward pass 6 phases earlier?

And, while we all get frustrated by scrum halves who have time to put the kettle on and read the newspaper before clearing the ball from the base of a ruck, will a 5 second time limit really help? When, for instance, will referees deem the ball to be “available”? Surely they could just apply current laws and penalise teams for going off their feet and sealing off?

The one change missing, of course, is a change to the scrummaging laws. A proposed amendment from the current "crouch, touch, pause, engage" sequence to a new "crouch, touch, set" sequence has been referred to the IRB’s Scrum Steering Group (whatever that is) but I suspect the phrase “too little, too late” might end up being appropriate.

1 comment:

GazP said...

Completely agree on the back of the ruck law change. It drives me crazy when scrum halves spend 5 mins fannying around. I think its eminently workable. Essentially it should work like a static maul. You get a warning so you know the Ref considers it playable, then you have 5 secs. Perfect

Don't like the TMO. Takes too long now and some obvious scores are being referred. This is only going to make it worse

Scrum laws should be simple. Stop the whole choreographed STOP....PAUSE......ENGAGE. Have the front rows set, take a bind without a charge and then tell the SH to put it in, oh and straight down the middle if its quite alright with you Mr 9.

Only other change would be to outlaw any boots that are not predominantly black. I think I might be getting old......