Unintentional Consequences - Green and Gold Rugby

Unintentional Consequences

Unintentional Consequences
Do we have to chase it?

Do we have to chase it?

Eddie Jones was right! These rules changes are mucking up the game.

Let me digress. In Eddie’s regular diatribes against the ELVs he made the particularly interesting point that making the tackle contest too much of a contest would change the shape of rugby (my words, his thoughts).

We did see that change with prudent coaches choosing to put the ball in the air more because it turned the risk to the defenders if executed well.

The ELV’s died a death and the IRB then chooses to fiddle some more by changing the tackle interpretation, as a result the tackler is being allowed to get to his feet and contest the ball for longer.

So in that particular area the ELVs essentially continued, there was greater competition at the breakdown but with the consequence now being increased to a penalty from a free kick.

The result being even more risk at the breakdown.

So what do the coaches do? First they decide that the tackle contest is just too dangerous for the attackers unless they have dominant numbers, so they plan to kick more. They know an attacker has about half a second for the ball to be made available before they are penalised. There is no benefit in those chances so the rule evolves to kick early and back your chase and defence to add pressure.

The prime example of this is the Springboks who for the most of the season have kicked well, had an excellent chase to create pressure and a proper fetcher in Heinrich Brüssow leveraging the pressure.

What we have lost is the ball in hand rugby because the risk of turnover has become too high. So less tries, less attacking rugby, more shadow boxing looking for an opportunity through often aimless kicking.

So what do we do? To me, give the attackers more opportunity to set and recycle the ball, let the attackers have the benefit of the doubt while they keep on their feet, make the defenders release earlier in the contest, reward the team moving forward and get the balance moving back to playing rugby.

  • One simple rule change would totally change the game for the better.

    Bring back rucking.

    • Bobas

      Yep, good article, also what happened to the tackler rolling away before rejoining the ruck?

      We dont need to change the rules, just the interpretations. If i player needs to be rucked he should get a yellow from the reff for his trouble.

      Also has to be to do with coaching tactics as our ability to kick is terrible at the moment and we persist with it over setting up good rucks and keeping the ball in hand.

      So in conclusion, if in doubt, stay on your feet and wait for support to free up the ball once you go to ground.

      Rather than, if in doubt put up a high ball and chase…

    • Cam178

      I second, Bring Back RUCKING

  • Scotty

    Good article, fp. Of course if the free kick elvs were adopted, then we might not be worrying about this, as the penalty for getting caught with the ball would not be as bad, and we would have more teams running it out of their own half.

  • Greg

    Firstly, it’s very important for Eddie Jones never to be proven correct again. That said, you’re right. Though I’d humbly suggest the ‘isolated attacker’ has become more of an issue because refs have become prone to quickly curtailing the contest, rather than the idea that the tackler has more rights to the ball.

    Bottom line is the risk takers have been marginalised because everybody wants to play johnny friggin wilkinson rugger. In the ‘professional era’ – god i hate that term — you’ve gotta kick your drop goals and you gotta kick your mind-numbingly boring penalty goals. It’s Paul McLean’s revenge on the Ellas for hogging the history limelight.

    Jeez, the Wannabes lose a fair bit anyway. Let’s get back to losing with aplomb. Australia three tries to two, but done on penalties. Now that’s a loss.

  • Cam178

    The essential consequence of Kicking is to CHASE IT and TACKLE the reciever or if it was for touch to stop the quick throw in.

  • Nabley

    By defintion when an attacking team kicks the ball, it is available for turn over and usually is. So the basis of the argument above is wrong. The real point is, if a tackler can get quickly to his feet to recover the ball, then the tackled player can also. This aspect is never practiced.

    I have often thought a great weakness in the game is ease with which refs let ball carriers go to ground and then get up and carry on. They are meant to play the ball meaning release the ball and regather. You never see it happen.

    • Patrick

      Only if they are held.

      Not held = no tackle = can do whatever you want, including commando-crawl your way to the line.

      • Nabley

        All very well true, but the tackler has to release and roll away. What I am saying is the tackled player needs to be restricted as well by releasing the ball and then being on his feet before he plays on.

  • beeza

    Might have said this before, but I think that the set piece needs to keep its importance. The elv’s like you mentioned had positive and negative effects – one big negative being that the game lost alot of its shape, and without stoppages it became a scrappy bombfest. If you have rugby without scrums and lineouts you end up with league :(

    I don’t know what the answer is regarding the contest at the tackle, but I think that one part of the answer may be that only full arm penalties given in the attacking 20m should be able to be taken as shots at goal. This would mean teams playing the postitional game would have to do alot more work for ‘easy points’… drop goals should be worth less as well.

  • reds fan

    I’m a big believer in bringing back the pass into the 22 for clearance. Any bomb that lands in the 22 or 10m outside (as you can easily pass it back in to the 22) can be dealt with by being kicked straight into touch. Thats about a two thirds of the field where the contest in the air is reduced, thus reducing the attractiveness of the tactic. If you get there in time you can contest in the air, but if you dont its a thumping kick back down the other end.

    That will solve part of the problem. Add to that a couple of tweaks to the ruck and you should get a better balance.

    The call for rucking is fine, but its not going to stop those on their feet who have been given more latitude to continue playing the ball once the ruck is formed.

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