"Forget tackle height” – Nigel Owens calls for FIVE law changes ahead of 2023 Rugby World Cup - Ruck

“Forget tackle height” – Nigel Owens calls for FIVE law changes ahead of 2023 Rugby World Cup

Popular former international referee Nigel Owens says rugby’s new Laws are NOT working to improve the game.

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He’s also not a fan of the new tackle height laws that have caused controversy ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“I don’t think people are signing a petition not wanting to make the game safe.” said Owens

“They are signing it because they want to know how this is going to better the game, how is it going to make the game safer.

“If the ball carrier is going to ground near the try-line, how are you going to be able to get below his waist to tackle him?

“How do you now set up a maul? Because the ball-carrier is on his feet, the defenders wrap around him and you can’t join a maul below the waist.

“There are a lot of question marks and that is what needs to be addressed.”

Owens, who hung up his whistle two years ago, has come up with five possible changes to encourage expansive rugby.


#1. Scrap the goal-line dropout

Owens wrote: “As for goal-line dropouts, I was a big fan initially because I felt it would prevent attacking teams from numerous pick-and-gos near the try line, with teams instead attempting to move the ball wide to avoid being held up and losing possession.

” But I’m not sure it has worked as planned. We still see plenty of pick-and-gos until teams get over, we still see plenty of mauls and the number of collisions hasn’t decreased.

“We are also seeing fewer scrums near the goal line, and to be honest I’m not sure that is a good thing. The scrum needs to be an important part of the game, and right now we are not seeing the benefits of it. Rugby must continue to be a game for all shapes and sizes, and at all levels, too.

Attacking teams are also kicking longer knowing that if the ball rolls dead, the defending team has to do a goal-line dropout and they can get the ball back.

“We’ve also lost the short dropouts we used to see from the 22-metre line where teams would compete to win the ball back, or a quick dropout would be taken, because teams now backed up on their goal line just kick the ball long to escape and what happens? The opposition kick it back.

“From initially believing it would work, I would now like the goal-line dropout law to go to be honest. If anything it is having a negative effect.”