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.
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.