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Having grown up in SA and having (like many others on the boards) played the game in my youth, I have been looking at the professional game and cant help wondering about some of the recent changes in the rules.

1. Scrumming rules... This crouch,hold.engage rule seems to be taking away the adventage from a side that is stronger in the forwards department. There is no real advantage to a side to have bigger stronger guys playing in the forwards. The trend seems to favour a side that will choose faster more mobile forwards.

2. The line out... In many of the recent recent matches (super 14 and 6 nations) where the opposing teams dont even bother to compete for the ball, (mostly I suspect because of a fear of giving away penalties.

These used to be two areas of the game that I looked forward to seeing the clash, and competition in. Sadly these rules do not allow this to happen.

The advantage of some of the rule changes is that the game is speeding up, the disadvantage is that there are many parts of the game that suffer because of the rules.

Whats your opinion??
lol .. I didn't know they had changed the rules

more mobile forwards hopefully means no more fatties


listened to the Ireland vs england game on BBC internet radio and it sounded as though the Irish forwards were dominating the lineout, so I am now wondering whether this was due to the new rules you mention

I know that Robok is a big rugby man however we haven't seen the monkeyman since the speculation of the sale of Liverpool

Big Grin
[COLOR="Navy"]Some of the spark is returning to Springbok coach Jake White's voice, and the reason he is smiling again is all down to what he has seen in the first three week's of the Super 14.

White was in Namibia when contacted by the Weekend Argus, but he has been watching the Super 14 action closely and with every passing week he is becoming more confident about the Springbok chances of doing well in the World Cup in France in September.

"At the Sanzar conference last December, when they announced the 'tweaks' to the laws, guys like John Mitchell (former All Black coach) remarked that it would suit South Africa, and I must say, it appears to be turning out like that," said White.

"This applies particularly to the scrumming, where the new rules of engagement in the set-piece mean that the opposition have to scrum and they cannot get away from us, as happened in the past. In some games last year you would have so many tap penalties and other disruptions at the scrums that you would have 20 or 30 minutes where the opposition prop would not see you.

"But now the refs are being forced to reset the scrum, and it means the opposition have to scrum against us for 80 minutes. That makes a massive difference to the game. The scrum is not just a restart any more, and being scrummed has an impact on the opposition players."

It used to be the Australians who were particularly adept at avoiding a scrumming contest, but White reckons this aspect of the game has aided the South African teams in their matches against Kiwi opposition as well.

"If you look at it, we have a wealth of experienced props. We have guys like CJ van der Linde, Os du Randt, Ollie le Roux, BJ Botha available to us. All of those guys have played a lot of rugby, they have been around.

"And most of the South African teams are scrumming well. It has been a big part of the Lions' success, and the Sharks. The Cheetahs have a lot of depth when it comes to front row and of course the Bulls have always scrummed well. In other aspects of the game, like the tackle ball, the changes have also helped us."

White, in a pre-season interview, called on the South African teams to work on their defensive effort as this would be of crucial importance to World Cup success, and so far he reckons the players and the coaches have delivered.

"It is really good to see the opposing teams having to work hard to break down our defences. Admittedly the law tweaks, and the greater emphasis the referees are paying to certain aspects, may have helped, as we are not the only teams involved in tight, low scoring games.

"But it is definitely a big step forward for us that teams are not just running through us. Defences seem a lot more organised, more attention is being paid to defensive system. Instead of opposition teams scoring bonus points against us, we are now scoring four tries or more."

White took some stick last year for his decision to rest nationally contracted players in the Currie Cup, but he reckons the early rounds have vindicated this decision.

"I don't think it is a coincidence that Percy Montgomery is suddenly playing as well again as he has at any stage of his career. I don't think it is a coincidence Fourie du Preez last week won a man-of-the-match award, that Jaques Fourie has won a man-of-the-match award.

"As Professor Tim Noakes says, there are always some benefits and some things you give away when you give the guys a long rest. Some of the guys may have come back a bit rusty, but those who sat out the Currie Cup are now all playing top rugby and they are gaining their sharpness.

"I must take my hat off too to the Super 14 coaches. They are starting to rotate the players, as I requested them to. John Smit didn't start last week, CJ is playing mainly off the bench, all of these selections aid the national cause and will help us in the buildup to the World Cup."

One player who has not been rested so far is Schalk Burger, but White says he is not concerned that the Springbok loose-forward kingpin is playing in every game.

"That is something that the coaches have to play by ear. Remember, Schalk was out for a big proportion of last year, so there cannot be complaints at the moment that he is fatigued. For him it should at this stage be more about regaining momentum, and that comes from playing," said White.

The most important thing though for White is that even at this early stage of the season, top South African players are breaking psychological barriers which will hold them in good stead for the World Cup.

"Most of the teams have scored victories against good opposition. The All Blacks are not playing, and we must not forget that, but it must have been a tremendous boost for the guys in the Lions side to beat the Crusaders, and likewise the Cheetahs to beat the Waratahs. Those teams are semi-finalists most years."[/COLOR]
Morning, Big Grin

The new scrumming laws are for safety but the "touch" bit is a farce cos really they just slap each other on the shoulder .

The main reason why sides dont compete at the lineout (normally near their own try line) is to try counteract the maul which they think may be coming once the jumper has landed,esp v England ,think thats the only thing that they are still quite good at Big Grin
Robok Wrote:Morning, Big Grin

The new scrumming laws are for safety but the "touch" bit is a farce cos really they just slap each other on the shoulder .

The main reason why sides dont compete at the lineout (normally near their own try line) is to try counteract the maul which they think may be coming once the jumper has landed,esp v England ,think thats the only thing that they are still quite good at Big Grin

Hi Robok,

I understand the safety aspect, what I am questioning is the need for monster forwards as in the old days, I think the modern game now seems to call for athletes of a different type.

Mobile, strong, athletic, stamina, as opposed to the older DOM Krag forwards of 20 or 30 years ago. Not that the forwards in those days were dom! ( I played flank , hooker and prop in my youth too)

I also understand the lineout and maul situations you describe, what I am bemoaning is the virtual lack of competition in a lot of the lineouts that I have seen recently.

Still, even after my gripes I still love watching my sport, as I am sure many others do too. (my better half claims that many wives are golf widows, but she is a rugby widow!!:rofl: )

I Was in France two weeks ago in Lyon on business, and met someFrench rugby supporters, they are really looking forward to the WC this year.
i know what you're saying, jw, and i agree with you.