Super Rugby Pacific is set to implement a significant change this season, aimed at eliminating the so-called ‘Dupont law’ loophole.
Approved by World Rugby, this trial seeks to address a loophole initially utilized by Antoine Dupont during his time at Toulouse.
The loophole, not formally a law but an exploitation, revolves around players in an offside position after a kick. They are not obliged to retreat until they’re onside again, allowing them to remain stationary (starting from more than 10 meters back from where the ball lands) until the catcher of the ball makes a move—be it running five meters, kicking, or passing.
This strategic maneuver enables teams to effectively cover both the backfield and frontline simultaneously after a kick, placing the catcher in a challenging situation. As soon as the catcher attempts to counter-attack, the offside players spring back into action, creating an imbalance for the ball-carrier.
The game consequently devolves into a tedious cat-and-mouse scenario, much to the dissatisfaction of spectators. The exploitation of this loophole has been criticised widely, prompting calls for adjustments to the rules. Super Rugby Pacific is taking the lead in implementing these changes.
Kevin Malloy, the tournament chair, emphasized that this modification responds to feedback from fans, coaches, and players alike. “We aim to deliver an exciting and enjoyable experience for both fans and players,” stated Malloy.
“This includes fostering open play and reducing the prevalence of ‘kick tennis’ scenarios where teams exploit loopholes to dominate territory. Our goal is to encourage dynamic ball-handling and counterattacking opportunities, ultimately enhancing the spectacle of the game.”
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Nigel Owens names his all-time rugby dream team
It’s actually interesting to note that the majority of the players that Owens picked are captains. The entire pack have captained their countries
NIGEL OWENS DREAM XV:
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.”
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.”