Nigel Owens calls for radical change to rugby replacements, it would be a huge change - Page 2 of 4 - Ruck

Nigel Owens calls for radical change to rugby replacements, it would be a huge change

#4. Less TMO

Owens wrote: “We should aim for good performances that facilitate good games. In my opinion, perfect has become the enemy of the good because people are striving for a standard that is unachievable. A frustrating over-reliance on the TMO is one result of this fear of getting things wrong.

“Pressure is being exerted on referees by spectators, social media users, coaches, players, performance reviewers and referee managers. That is a lot of people scrutinising everything. I think we need to take a step back and make sure we pick up the things that matter.”

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#5. Crooked feeds must go

Owens wrote in his column for The Telegraph during the Lions series: “Some of the scrum-feeds from both sides – particularly in the second half by Cobus Reinach – were beyond a joke.

“I must say that I have been as guilty of not giving enough free-kicks for crooked feeds as any referee, but it has to be stopped as soon as possible now. Scrum-halves simply have to put the ball into scrums in an acceptable manner.

“Everyone you speak to about it wants feeds to be straight. Brian Moore has been making the point for years and I agree with him. Everyone comments on it, and there is no excuse. It has been allowed to creep in, after a brief crackdown a couple of years ago.”

NIGEL OWENS DREAM XV:

Notably, a striking facet of Owens’ chosen players is their collective leadership qualities, with the majority of the selected individuals having served as captains for their respective nations.

Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia)

Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.

“But I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh he is one of the best under the high ball.

“It’s a toss of a coin for me… and it’s come down in Folau’s favour.”

Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.

“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”

Fixtures for the Six Nations - Round 1

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”

Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Owens said: “He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.

“What a player, mind, too. One of the stalwarts of the New Zealand side for so many years.”

Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)

Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.

“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”

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