There are not many occasions where I’d agree with Stephen Jones, The Times doyen of rugby writers, but this is one of them.
The ELV ‘short arm’ sanctions were not adopted by the IRB this season after a vociferous campaign by the northern unions and journo fellow travellers like Mick Cleary and Brian Moore from the Daily Telegraph.
They did their job well. Finally, a good decision by the IRB ‘old farts’. I wholeheartedly agree with them and good riddance to this load of old bollocks.
If I had wanted to watch a more ‘simplified’ game, one without a contest in some aspects of play, I’d go down to Shark Park and be bored out of my wits looking at one dimensional hit ups by forwards who wouldn’t know how to spell ‘experimental’ and whose bail conditions have yet to be revoked…..
The dumping of the ELV free kick sanctions is a positive move in my opinion. Many of you will not concur with those sentiments but like global warming, there are skeptics abound who think that Australian rugby is better off without them.
Did we miss the ELV ‘free kick’ sanctions during the just past Wallaby Spring Tour? Not that I can recall.
Did anyone say how poorly entertained we were during this tour because the ELV sanctions weren’t in place? Not that I can recall.
If I remember rightly, most of the games were a real contest with tries scored and generally plenty of excitement.
The only thing we were moaning about was how inconsistent the Wallabies were and a few ‘what ifs’; like what if we scored a couple more points we could have won the Grand Slam.
In fact, the Wallaby v Wales match was one of the best we’d seen in the past few years, a feast of expansive rugby.
Not forgetting that the All Blacks v France match on the same weekend took running rugby to another level. I didn’t hear people whingeing about how stilted it was or how little time the ball was in play?
I really like scrums. I really like lineouts. I really like mauls. They’re the fabric of the game. And I really like watching George Smith and co fight for possession at the breakdown.
Sure, there are continuing issues with the breakdown but in my view these have been going on for years and are not insurmountable.
The leather patch brigade would say ‘bring back rucking’. Yes, that would sort it out but sadly today’s soft-c*ck society couldn’t cope with it.
Little Johnnie’s mum couldn’t bear the thought of a few tags on his back. Maybe they could bring back rucking at U19 level and above….nah, forget it!
Re-setting scrums can become a bit of a bore and slows up play a bit but referees have just got to grasp the mettle and penalise the wrong-doers.
Maybe, in addition to Stu Dickinson, all referees could all be sent to scrum ‘re-education camps’ to be tutored in the ‘dark arts’.
The biggest bane on the game at the moment is the bloody endless and aimless kicking we see every week. And the fact of the matter is that it’s not going to be fixed up by introducing the ELV sanctions.
I really don’t believe that the team that’s strong enough to win possession and is going forward should be penalised (short arm) because they haven’t recycled the ball from the breakdown within 5 seconds. It’s ridiculous and counter productive.
Constant turnovers don’t necessarily make for a better spectacle. How can you really build pressure under these circumstances? It’s just style over substance.
I don’t mind watching the odd game of Sevens rugby but this sort of fluff is not the sort of thing I want to see week in and week out.
I think the ELVs that were adopted were fairly sensible (i.e. 5m behind scrums, pass into 22m kick out rule) and there seemed to be a consensus by most unions about them.
I can understand northern unions opposing the ‘pulling the maul down’ provision as it weakens one of their main strengths and is probably a bit dangerous as well.
I note that they are now re-focussing more on the ‘truck and trailer’ obstruction aspects of the maul and appear to be tightening up on this.
I don’t see anything substantially wrong with the style of rugby that is played under the currently adopted laws. You know, if the Wallabies had won the Tri-Nations and the Bledisloe Cup nobody would give a shit about the ELV sanctions.
The reason crowd numbers are dropping off is because we’ve been losing all the time. We came last in the Super 14, last in the Tri-Nations and last in the Bledisloe. It’s self perpetuating.
Style can be a factor – just ask the Waratahs. However, the reality is start winning games and you’ll win the crowd.