Thursday’s Rugby News

Zeb Holmes March 27, 2014 17

No GravatarThursday’s rugby news has Larkham praising some NRC rule changes, more Rebels changes, Quade calling for better discipline and Sam Burgess set to play in the backrow. 


Larkham backs rule changes

larkhamBrumbies coach Stephen Larkham has praised the possibility of the National Rugby Championship increasing the values of tries to encourage attacking rugby. ‘Changing (reducing) the amount of points for penalties is a good idea,’ he said. ‘Making it more valuable to score tries is the key.’ The Wallaby great also said that the ARU should take the chance to address the issues of teams conceding penalties inside their own 22, time wastage for scrums and increasing the time that the ball is in play.

At the same time though, Larkham emphasised that it was important that the new laws would not diminish the game’s technical aspects, prioritising the distinct body shapes of a rugby 15 which contrasted that of a rugby league line-up.  

McGahan makes bold changes

McGahans_MailboxThe Melbourne Rebels are slated to make a number of surprising changes ahead of their match against the Brumbies, with coach Tony McGahan desperate to reverse a three match losing streak. Prop Max Lahiff will be promoted to the starting front-row, to be joined by Laurie Weeks, who returns from a concussion. Meanwhile, scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker and flanker Colby Fainga’a are poised to run-on, displacing two of the Rebels’ top performers at the start of the season, Luke Burgess and Sean McMahon.

Jason Woodward did train on Wednesday and could well be available to return after a two week absence with a knee issue. And after the devastating injury to Lachlan Mitchell, Tom Kingston will be promoted to his wing position.   

Cooper emphasises discipline

Cooper reds

Quade Cooper says that the Reds must focus on their own ill-discipline rather than blaming the poor performance of the referees going forward in the Super Rugby season. The Reds have been the most penalized team this year, averaging 14.2 penalties a game, with four yellow cards issued in five matches. ‘There are some things that we can’t control but there are things that there is no use whingeing about,’ Cooper said. ‘You can’t go out there and expect to get a leg-up.’

The Reds have also suffered from poor execution close to the line, most notably in the Sharks match, where they bombed a couple of tries deep in the opposition 22.  

Burgess set for back row

Burgess_Sam_England1Rugby league convert Sam Burgess is set to start his union career in Bath’s back row. Burgess will cross codes after the current NRL season, with designs to put himself in contention for the World Cup next year. But despite England head coach Stuart Lancaster foreseeing the league player at inside centre, the RFU have forfeited all stake in Burgess’ development after reneging on their arrangement to pay some of the £280,000 transfer fee to release Burgess from the final year of his Rabbitohs contract.

And with Billy Vunipola and Ben Morgan the contenders for the English no. 8 spot, the Rabbitohs star is unlikely to play his way into the Test pack, certainly not in time for the 2015 World Cup.  

Discussion

  • The Rant

    2 point penalties. 1 point field goals.
    Leave the rest of the game in all its warts and glory.
    It’s not rocket science.

    • Stomper

      Short arm for scrum infringements gets my vote!

    • Stomper

      and bring back rucking!

      • Braveheart81

        Rucking is never going to come back. I think everyone understands the benefits of being able to effectively force a player to get off the ball but making people roll away and penalising them if they don’t works. If you watch games from 20 years ago, some of the breakdowns were ridiculous because players are lying all over the ball.

    • Braveheart81

      I don’t think 1 point field goals are a terrible idea (although it makes it very rugby league), but reducing penalty goal points encourages infringing because the penalty is reduced. If anything, making the punishment for penalties harsher would be more likely to reduce infringements and speed up the game.

      • Jon Nunan

        I agree with your penalty goal point. I think reducing field goals could slow the game down as it would mean players wouldn’t take a pot shot during advantage and instead wait for the more valuable penalty goal, unless we had 2 classes of field goals and the ones taken under advantage were worth the same as a penalty.

        • Stin

          Yup. Also DROP GOAL ATTEMPTS – if it goes dead… Treat it like any bad kick in general play that goes dead… scrum from where it was kicked. Otherwise your rewarding negative play by giving them the ball back via a 22 drop out.

      • Geoffwho

        Totally agree. Reducing the value of penalties will only increase infringements. The way to reduce penalties is to reduce the incentive to infringe.

        At moment a cynical team can give away a penalty inside their 22 and get pinged 3 points, instead of potential 7, compete for the kick off and immediately be on attack deep inside the opposition’s half. Instead I would make a change that if an infringement occurs inside the 22 and the penalty kick is taken, the defending team would return the ball into play via a goal line drop kick – whether the penalty is successful or not. It means the attacking team can pocket 3 points and be straight back into attack in the opposition half. It would reduce the incentive to infringe inside 22 and possibly leave the game more flowing.

        • Seb V

          I like it!

        • mistermouse666

          I would make one amendment to that-drop out from the 22. However, the NRC is NOT the place to trial a change like that.

      • Joe King

        But if tries were worth more, then

      • Joe King

        But if tries are worth 6 points and penalties goals only 2 points, wouldn’t it kind of balance it out? If a player infringes, then the attacking team would be more likely to go for a line out/try than kick for goal (because it takes three penalty goals to equal a try). Doesn’t that decrease incentive to infringe? Add to that the law that there’s an automatic yellow card for any deliberate infringements in your 22, and I don’t think infringements will increase much. I just think that 3 points is too much for the many accidental and minor infringements. You only need two penalty goals to be more than a try. Would be good for teams to automatically think ‘got to score tries if we’re going to win’ rather than ‘lets try and milk a penalty’.

        • Braveheart81

          I don’t think you need to change the point scoring system. If a team is actively trying to earn a penalty by endless pick and drives it should be easy to defend and teams that do this generally make a mistake after a while.

          Super Rugby has shown in the last few years that teams that attack and score tries are the most successful. I don’t think you need to change things to make this happen. It’s already happening in Southern Hemisphere rugby and that’s why we’re dominating the Northern Hemisphere.

          Accidental infringements are part of the game. If you end up in the wrong position in a tackle and slow the ball down because you can’t roll away, you should be penalised.

          I really don’t think you need to change the laws to encourage attacking rugby. Regardless of the laws of the game, it is the mindset of the team that dictates how they play the game, not the laws.

        • Joe King

          All good points for me to consider mate. And you obviously have a better grasp of all this than me. Reading thru what I wrote again, I’m just finding it hard to see the flaw in my logic as you do. It still seems like what Larkham is saying would encourage an attacking mindset more often, and limit the option of a different mind set. I’d love for teams to want to kick for touch more often when they get a penalty (and go for a try), and want to kick for goal less often (because they’d rather score a try). But I’m open to correction if I’m not seeing it properly.

        • Braveheart81

          I’m just wary of changing the laws for the sake of it. The primary goal of the NRC is to create a 3rd tier and bridge the gap between Club Rugby and Super Rugby so I don’t want to see the NRC become an experiment that is too different from every other game.

          Personally the only changes I’d like to see is the clock stopped after the first scrum reset and only restarted when the ball is back in play. Time lost at scrumtime is the worst thing I’ve seen this year.

          Also following John Kirwan’s suggestion that the scrum half puts the ball into the scrum without the referee’s direction. The more involvement the referee has in the scrum, the worse it gets.

          I like watching tries scored over penalties kicked as much as the next person, but kicking goals will always be a crucial element of the game. I feel like discouraging that will only worsen Australia’s problem of being really bad goalkickers relative to the rest of world rugby.

        • Joe King

          All fair points. I’m not very experienced at analysing the laws of the game. And reading some of your other posts, I think you have a better knowledge about rugby than I do.

          I agree, any tweaks of the laws can’t jeopardise a players development for Super or Test rugby. That would defeat one of the main purposes of the NRC. Cheers

  • dr professor

    Also in Thursday’s news Peri Weepu was diagnosed as having suffered a mild stroke and will miss the next four weeks while they assess his condition. Best of luck to Peri, hope he’s able to push through a successful, speedy recovery!

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