‘It’s madness' - Premiership boss attacks World Rugby’s latest law change plans - Ruck

‘It’s madness’ – Premiership boss attacks World Rugby’s latest law change plans

World Rugby’s latest flurry of law change recommendations have been criticised as “madness” by Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter.

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“We need to stop changing the laws,” revealed Baxter to The Telegraph over the weekend.

“We’re trying to grow the game and there’s no sport in the world that tries to grow by con­fusing new supporters every 12 months.

“The game was fine three or four years ago, and we didn’t need to change it then – 90% of the law changes are to redo things that have been created by other law changes. It’s madness.”

He added: “I kind of hope that we just leave things,”

“They’re reinforcing two or three things to let the game keep ­flowing – we don’t need to do any more than that. We seem ­infatuated with ­thinking that depowering the scrum and maul will create this game ­everyone wants to come and watch.

“The more you depower the scrum and maul, the more you’re going to ­create a game that people are not going to want to watch because there’ll be no space.

“If there’s no free-kick option at a scrum then as soon as the scrum hits the floor or whatever, the back row are going to be up. There are going to be so many things people haven’t thought about, like depowering the maul. The best way to create space on a rugby field is to power up the maul.

“When people say: ‘You can’t stop a maul,’ you can always stop a maul. You just have to put in as many or more people than the opposition. That’s how you stop it. People don’t want to do it because then there’s space in which tries can be scored. But that’s the whole point. Keep the maul powerful so teams have to commit bodies to it. I just wish we’d stop changing the laws, it drives me potty.”

World Rugby law changes:

World Rugby has outlined the next steps in the process of reimagining rugby’s entertainment factor, part of a wider mission to grow audience share over the next decade.

First phase: Law Application Guidelines reinforcing existing law 

From 19 March, there will be an expectation of strict application of current law by referees globally via the following Law Application Guidelines, focusing on speeding up play:

  • Law 15.17: Players will be expected to use the ball more quickly when the ball has been secured at a ruck/breakdown. Referees will be asked to call “use it” earlier, which will begin the five second count to play the ball away.
  • Law 19.10: Hookers will be expected to maintain a full brake foot to aid scrum stability and safety during the engagement sequence. Any adjustment must maintain the act of the brake.
  • Law 6.29: Strict reinforcement of the 2022 law trial relating to water carriers entering the field of play.