State of the Game



  • in before the mods do it.

    We have two different "state of the game" discussions going on in two threads.

    Everyone knows my thoughts on modern professional rugby, i bore you guys with them all the time

    But, for i think the first time, i am starting to see my thoughts echoed all over, and not from the usual suspects. Northern fans and media are starting to cotton on to the fact that trench warfare is incredibly dull to watch.

    Part of me suspects it's England's fault. The celts hate that they are winning again, so it's the game's fault. But they are just the best exponents of it.

    The game has so many serious issues. Club power and season structures is a big one. And that fault lies with the unions who thought the soccer model was the way to go. Massively imbalanced financial structures have fucked the global game. The onfield product has reached the inevitable conclusion of professionalism, and that is "defense wins championships". Every single football code i follow has the same problem. Rugby is going to be hard to unravel because its so frikken complex.

    so, lets have a rant and solutions thread. What's wrong with the code, and how do we fix it?



  • oh, and the concussion stuff worries me greatly. I hope it gets tossed unless guys were being actively pushed back on the field against medical advice.

    otherwise, come on lads, you are going to fuck it for everyone in a chase for dollars.



  • Making defending teams be clearly and obviously onside at rucks and mauls would be a good place to start.
    Use technology to create a real time offside line that the TMO monitors and polices.

    Nothing will change until all national unions stop thinking purely about themselves and actually put their heads together and come up with a global season which is in the best interests of the game.



  • my most obvious one is ban the box kick. no kicking from teh base of the ruck at all. It will do away with shit loads of the aerial bombardment crap we have now, and fuck the ridiculous rucks we see. and the halfbacks being able to move the ball around with impunity.

    scrum infringements are a free kick only.

    the one i really want will be fiercely fought by all players unions. re-introduce fatigue. benches are still 8 players, but you only have four subs. And if you use four and a prop goes down? play with 14. being able to sub half the team is ridiculous.

    I wouldn't be averse to someone coming up with a rule that makes it important for your wingers and fullbacks to have to be back on defense. I'm coming around to the 50/20 rule to be honest.



  • @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    my most obvious one is ban the box kick. no kicking from teh base of the ruck at all. It will do away with shit loads of the aerial bombardment crap we have now, and fuck the ridiculous rucks we see. and the halfbacks being able to move the ball around with impunity.

    scrum infringements are a free kick only.

    the one i really want will be fiercely fought by all players unions. re-introduce fatigue. benches are still 8 players, but you only have four subs. And if you use four and a prop goes down? play with 14. being able to sub half the team is ridiculous.

    I wouldn't be averse to someone coming up with a rule that makes it important for your wingers and fullbacks to have to be back on defense. I'm coming around to the 50/20 rule to be honest.

    All of this apart from the Scrum infringement thing. That will only lead to more scrums as the dominating team will just keep smoking them



  • @Hooroo said in State of the Game:

    @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    my most obvious one is ban the box kick. no kicking from teh base of the ruck at all. It will do away with shit loads of the aerial bombardment crap we have now, and fuck the ridiculous rucks we see. and the halfbacks being able to move the ball around with impunity.

    scrum infringements are a free kick only.

    the one i really want will be fiercely fought by all players unions. re-introduce fatigue. benches are still 8 players, but you only have four subs. And if you use four and a prop goes down? play with 14. being able to sub half the team is ridiculous.

    I wouldn't be averse to someone coming up with a rule that makes it important for your wingers and fullbacks to have to be back on defense. I'm coming around to the 50/20 rule to be honest.

    All of this apart from the Scrum infringement thing. That will only lead to more scrums as the dominating team will just keep smoking them

    i don't understand. why would they be more incentivised than now?

    no repeat scrums. you get one shot at it.



  • @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    What's wrong with the code, and how do we fix it?

    The problem is rucking. Or the lack of it. To appease soccer mums who wouldn't let Kamryn play anyway, we removed the ability to punish the poor soul who went to ground with the ball and held on to it. Watching old games it's apparent how few rucks there were in comparison to the modern game where people cart it up, bodies fly in like missiles to clear the one off his feet trying to win a penalty. It's relentlessly repetitive and boring, let alone dangerous.

    Make players have to drive past the ball before it can be won. Ban kicks from the base of the ruck - it's a shit skill anyway.

    Problem solved.



  • One option could be to can the "use it" + 5 second rule from halfback.

    If the ref yells use it you have to use it straight away (and police it harshly).



  • @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    my most obvious one is ban the box kick. no kicking from teh base of the ruck at all. It will do away with shit loads of the aerial bombardment crap we have now, and fuck the ridiculous rucks we see. and the halfbacks being able to move the ball around with impunity.

    Easy fix: eliminate caterpillar rucks via modified application of "use it". Once a ruck forms, ref calls "use it" and counts to 5 - not "waits for the ball to be available then counts to 5". Ball not out? Short arm against.

    That way you can still box kick but you put yourself at risk of chargedown.

    Scrum: can only opt for a scrum from a full-arm penalty. This is to counterbalance the increased short arms from the ruck change above.



  • @KiwiMurph snap.



  • i am wrestling with the thought of banning hands in the ruck at all. Counter balanced by being really harsh on body heights over the ball. Incentivise throwing numbers at rucks on both sides of the ball



  • @mariner4life Didn't they try something similar in the 2016 NPC and it was an utter failure?



  • @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    i am wrestling with the thought of banning hands in the ruck at all. Counter balanced by being really harsh on body heights over the ball. Incentivise throwing numbers at rucks on both sides of the ball

    When the Mazda ARC (2007 version) allowed hands in the ruck no matter what, it actually improved the game and stopped the missile cleanouts. It made teams commit more to the ruck as well, making space.

    David Croft had a field day annoying people



  • @NTA said in State of the Game:

    David Croft had a field day annoying people

    i cleaned out that guy with everything i had one day, and with a subtle shift of his body i slipped completely off. Immovable over the ball.



  • @NTA said in State of the Game:

    Scrum: can only opt for a scrum from a full-arm penalty. This is to counterbalance the increased short arms from the ruck change above.

    I'd suggest that's completely the wrong approach. You want to incentivize maintaining power athletes in those positions. The more scrums they do, the tireder they become so less effective in defence.



  • @NTA said in State of the Game:

    @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    i am wrestling with the thought of banning hands in the ruck at all. Counter balanced by being really harsh on body heights over the ball. Incentivise throwing numbers at rucks on both sides of the ball

    When the Mazda ARC (2007 version) allowed hands in the ruck no matter what, it actually improved the game and stopped the missile cleanouts. It made teams commit more to the ruck as well, making space.

    David Croft had a field day annoying people

    ok if my suggestion has been tried and failed as per @KiwiMurph then try something else. anything that commits defenders to the ruck is what is needed. The argies ignoring them and fanning across the field is good for no one.
    .
    as with anything though, the coaches will beat any rule changes. coaches hate chaos and will do anything to avoid it. and so you get where we are today. over-coached, over-fit athletes playing a repetitive game punctuated by set pieces designed to do not much in most cases.



  • @antipodean said in State of the Game:

    @NTA said in State of the Game:

    Scrum: can only opt for a scrum from a full-arm penalty. This is to counterbalance the increased short arms from the ruck change above.

    I'd suggest that's completely the wrong approach. You want to incentivize maintaining power athletes in those positions. The more scrums they do, the tireder they become so less effective in defence.

    fair point. i just hate constant resets and playing for penalties so you can kick goals.



  • @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    @NTA said in State of the Game:

    @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    i am wrestling with the thought of banning hands in the ruck at all. Counter balanced by being really harsh on body heights over the ball. Incentivise throwing numbers at rucks on both sides of the ball

    When the Mazda ARC (2007 version) allowed hands in the ruck no matter what, it actually improved the game and stopped the missile cleanouts. It made teams commit more to the ruck as well, making space.

    David Croft had a field day annoying people

    ok if my suggestion has been tried and failed as per @KiwiMurph then try something else. anything that commits defenders to the ruck is what is needed. The argies ignoring them and fanning across the field is good for no one.
    .
    as with anything though, the coaches will beat any rule changes. coaches hate chaos and will do anything to avoid it. and so you get where we are today. over-coached, over-fit athletes playing a repetitive game punctuated by set pieces designed to do not much in most cases.

    I don't now if it was a failure.

    It was a coaching and commentating failure. People lost their shit about defenders toe poking the 'opponent's' balls out of the ruck, The obvious answer to this problem was to commit more players to protect the ball. Almost all the law experimentations have been either to speed the game up or to find away to make teams again commit more forwards to breakdowns.

    Instead they reverted their interpretations to the status quo, but, as they reversed out of the barn door - they added yet another line to the rule book that you could only ruck backwards. Sometimes I just despair of it all ....

    I don't know if it worked or not (or would work), it was still a work in progress ... but the administrative (lawmaking) outcome from it was , as I said, despairing.



  • @KiwiMurph nah I cant recall what the changes were, but I think you could still use hands, but they were a mess with people wading through kicking it out



  • I don't have a problem with box kicks.

    Anyway. I grew up watching 80s rugby where the first-five spent 60 minutes putting up up-and-unders before you had earned the right to go wide.

    Aerial ping-pong is bad. But seems waaaaay less of this than in the 90s (Can't remember why so much in 90s, maybe after lifting in lineouts legalised )



  • Sometimes I think about the game and think if you were starting fresh now what would you do, and would you make the laws.

    I’m not suggesting these as serious changes. Too much sunk investment.

    What would I do?

    Not 15 players, and definitely not 8 subs.
    Not have a position so specialist, and physically dangerous, that can only be replaced by a dedicated player of same position (Modern front rowers). And you need 3 of them on the bench.

    How would I change that. 13 players like League? League scrums are depowered but a mess. No, maybe my anti-league biases can’t concede they might have that right.

    How about 14 players. 7 forwards. Scrums are a front row of 4 and second row of 3. More a wrestle than a unison of power channel through 3 necks.
    It will be messier, but if OK with messy (scrums used to be a mess before 1990s anyway) there will be no resets. People push, someone hooks, ball comes out on one side or the other. Job done, what is there to penalise? Maybe not even have put ins - ball is stationary like gridiron and team with loosehead 'feed' frorms with their hooker setting the placement of the 2 opposing rows? Halfbacks behind the 2 scrums ready for the messy hook back.

    So, now have a sport of 14 players, and maybe just 4 subs, none specialist. Imagine the benefits to amateur club rugby numbers, and to the current costs of running 40 man professional club squad.

    Next

    I would probably revoke some of the 1992 ‘use it or lose it’ law changes. I would make it again if you are going forward you get a scrum. As per my suggestion above – scrums should be more of a lottery anyway. You will get more forwards committed to rucks and mauls without the jeopardy of it all ending in inconclusion having to be resolved by a scrum that takes 5m to set and reset.

    I would then experiment with another law, and borrow from League. I would have a play-the-ball for knock-ons, forward passes etc. You’ve made a mistake, you lose possession.

    This would negate too many scrums. Scrums for when possession is contested but ball won’t come out of rucks, mauls. Play-the-ball if possession is coughed up.

    Next

    I would change point system. 4 point try, 1 point conversion. 2 points for penalty and drop goals. This isn't actually important, I just don't like basketball like scores.

    Next

    The offside line. Needs to counter modern fitness and rush defences. I don’t want a 5m rule that increases collisions, not going to work in modern concussion world. Probably a 1m rule for rucks/mauls - that gives enough seperation for refs to identify offsides, but I'd worry about fringe defending near your own tryline.

    Next

    Nice kits. The most important 🙂



  • @taniwharugby said in State of the Game:

    @KiwiMurph nah I cant recall what the changes were, but I think you could still use hands, but they were a mess with people wading through kicking it out

    I found this

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/75216263/nz-rugby-to-trial-two-refs-new-laws-in-national-provincial-championship-in-2016

    Under current law a ruck is formed when one player from each team are on their feet, in physical contact, over the ball. The trial will see the word "ruck" replaced by "breakdown", which would be formed when just one attacking player was over the ball on the ground. Once a breakdown is formed, no player from either side will be able to make a play for the ball with their hands, but in the absence of a "gate" would be able to enter the breakdown from any angle as long as they have come from an onside position.


  • @KiwiMurph breakdowns were a shambles!

    Think there were a few penalties this year in M10 cup and the ref said you havent been able to do that for a few years when a player tried to kick through.



  • I genuinely like the idea of making the field 10m wider, though I know that's unrealistic. It wouldn't solve all the game's problems but it would help I think.

    One of my major bugbears is pace of play. Two biggest issues in this is scrums and TMO interventions. You go back and watch a game from the late 90s, and the first thing you notice is how quickly players get to a scrum, form the scrum, and take the ball out of the scrum. The game barely stops because of this. Solution - scrum clock, 30 sec from blowing the scrum to 'engage' and if you can't do it it's a FK against (then escalating to PK).

    TMO interventions are harder to shorten. I think they are necessary, but I'd like to see more pragmatic refereeing. For example, we knew LSL's tackle was a red card from the first replay, and yet we still cycled through 25 replays just confirming that first instinct.

    A bit of this can be solved with a general directive to referees to hurry the game along. No more repeated scrum resets, blow a FK. No more pre-lineout team conferences. If a player is injured get them off and get on with the game.



  • @barbarian said in State of the Game:

    I genuinely like the idea of making the field 10m wider, though I know that's unrealistic. It wouldn't solve all the game's problems but it would help I think.

    One of my major bugbears is pace of play. Two biggest issues in this is scrums and TMO interventions. You go back and watch a game from the late 90s, and the first thing you notice is how quickly players get to a scrum, form the scrum, and take the ball out of the scrum. The game barely stops because of this. Solution - scrum clock, 30 sec from blowing the scrum to 'engage' and if you can't do it it's a FK against (then escalating to PK).

    TMO interventions are harder to shorten. I think they are necessary, but I'd like to see more pragmatic refereeing. For example, we knew LSL's tackle was a red card from the first replay, and yet we still cycled through 25 replays just confirming that first instinct.

    A bit of this can be solved with a general directive to referees to hurry the game along. No more repeated scrum resets, blow a FK. No more pre-lineout team conferences. If a player is injured get them off and get on with the game.

    Didn’t we trial some of that speed up stuff a number of years ago?
    I seem to recall it was done by making many stoppages free kicks instead of penalties.



  • @Crucial yep the ELVs - experimental law variations - 2008 from memory.



  • @antipodean said in State of the Game:

    @NTA said in State of the Game:

    Scrum: can only opt for a scrum from a full-arm penalty. This is to counterbalance the increased short arms from the ruck change above.

    I'd suggest that's completely the wrong approach. You want to incentivize maintaining power athletes in those positions. The more scrums they do, the tireder they become so less effective in defence.

    i've had a thought around this. maybe de-incentivising power athletes makes teh game a bit safer?



  • @mariner4life said in State of the Game:

    @antipodean said in State of the Game:

    @NTA said in State of the Game:

    Scrum: can only opt for a scrum from a full-arm penalty. This is to counterbalance the increased short arms from the ruck change above.

    I'd suggest that's completely the wrong approach. You want to incentivize maintaining power athletes in those positions. The more scrums they do, the tireder they become so less effective in defence.

    i've had a thought around this. maybe de-incentivising power athletes makes teh game a bit safer?

    The more the ball is in play, the less they can focus on power anyway as they'll have to forego strength for stamina. That being said, we still want fatties in the game.



  • @Rapido said in State of the Game:

    Sometimes I think about the game and think if you were starting fresh now what would you do, and would you make the laws.

    I’m not suggesting these as serious changes. Too much sunk investment.

    What would I do?

    Not 15 players, and definitely not 8 subs.
    Not have a position so specialist, and physically dangerous, that can only be replaced by a dedicated player of same position (Modern front rowers). And you need 3 of them on the bench.

    How would I change that. 13 players like League? League scrums are depowered but a mess. No, maybe my anti-league biases can’t concede they might have that right.

    How about 14 players. 7 forwards. Scrums are a front row of 4 and second row of 3. More a wrestle than a unison of power channel through 3 necks.
    It will be messier, but if OK with messy (scrums used to be a mess before 1990s anyway) there will be no resets. People push, someone hooks, ball comes out on one side or the other. Job done, what is there to penalise? Maybe not even have put ins - ball is stationary like gridiron and team with loosehead 'feed' frorms with their hooker setting the placement of the 2 opposing rows? Halfbacks behind the 2 scrums ready for the messy hook back.

    So, now have a sport of 14 players, and maybe just 4 subs, none specialist. Imagine the benefits to amateur club rugby numbers, and to the current costs of running 40 man professional club squad.

    Next

    I would probably revoke some of the 1992 ‘use it or lose it’ law changes. I would make it again if you are going forward you get a scrum. As per my suggestion above – scrums should be more of a lottery anyway. You will get more forwards committed to rucks and mauls without the jeopardy of it all ending in inconclusion having to be resolved by a scrum that takes 5m to set and reset.

    I would then experiment with another law, and borrow from League. I would have a play-the-ball for knock-ons, forward passes etc. You’ve made a mistake, you lose possession.

    This would negate too many scrums. Scrums for when possession is contested but ball won’t come out of rucks, mauls. Play-the-ball if possession is coughed up.

    Next

    I would change point system. 4 point try, 1 point conversion. 2 points for penalty and drop goals. This isn't actually important, I just don't like basketball like scores.

    Next

    The offside line. Needs to counter modern fitness and rush defences. I don’t want a 5m rule that increases collisions, not going to work in modern concussion world. Probably a 1m rule for rucks/mauls - that gives enough seperation for refs to identify offsides, but I'd worry about fringe defending near your own tryline.

    Next

    Nice kits. The most important 🙂

    I've put this to people before and id still love to see it happen. Get a group of former top level players in a room, write on the white board

    1. 15 players a team, same positions as current
    2. same field dimensions
    3. ball cant go forward from the hand
    4. we want lineouts and scrums (8 forwards involved)
    5. some basic safety, no kicking to the head, no weapons etc

    ….whats next?

    I have this feeling that a lot of the issues we currently have are at least largely caused or partially caused by existing rules because we've just kept adding rules on top of other ones

    what would the rule book look like if we went back to the fundamentals, so much of rugby can be described by not much more than above

    how many rules find their roots in one team did something unexpected...started kicking everyones arse, people said it ruined the game...so they introduced a new rule to change that...why, get better at what their doing or find something that counter acts it

    we're not allowed to sack a maul because people did it to stop a dominant maul...so? let them, if your maul is so dominant then it should be able to survive people trying to pull it down...if it cant, then play the ball. stuff like that



  • No kicking tees. Penalties and conversions are taken as drop-goals.
    Stops the tactics of penalty-hunting from anywhere in opposition half, and hopefully penalty-hunting in general. And speeds up the game.
    But - I realise this is in the realm of @Rapido 's ideas... never gonna happen, as apparently the skill of place-kicking has become as entrenched as the one underlying rugby-law... "everything should be a contest"



  • @Kruse said in State of the Game:

    No kicking tees. Penalties and conversions are taken as drop-goals.
    Stops the tactics of penalty-hunting from anywhere in opposition half, and hopefully penalty-hunting in general. And speeds up the game.
    But - I realise this is in the realm of @Rapido 's ideas... never gonna happen, as apparently the skill of place-kicking has become as entrenched as the one underlying rugby-law... "everything should be a contest"

    id like this, its why I don't like so many different reasons penalties, I always saw penalties as punishments for cheating, penalty for a "lazy runner" for example, the odd one might be lazy but must are just shagged...loosing points because theyre shagged? loosing points because you're not as strong as the other scrum?



  • @antipodean said in State of the Game:

    @NTA said in State of the Game:

    Scrum: can only opt for a scrum from a full-arm penalty. This is to counterbalance the increased short arms from the ruck change above.

    I'd suggest that's completely the wrong approach. You want to incentivize maintaining power athletes in those positions. The more scrums they do, the tireder they become so less effective in defence.

    Depends on the approach the coach wants to take with his squad. Have a bunch of power units who will lap up the anaerobic work all day and take penalties? Maybe put out some dynamic types who will do just enough to get a quick heel and beat their opponents around the park.

    Either way, you're going to get teams choosing options that suit their game plan and corresponding strengths and weaknesses.



  • Have they tried penalties only for intentional foul or cynical play? Just wondering if all the technical penalties like scrums, lineouts, ruck entry etc couldn't be something like a free kick where you get the throw in from the resulting lineout, you cannot take a kick for goal. This would lead to the ball being in the opposition 22 a lot more as you would not be able to take a shot at goal as often.



  • @NTA said in State of the Game:

    @antipodean said in State of the Game:

    @NTA said in State of the Game:

    Scrum: can only opt for a scrum from a full-arm penalty. This is to counterbalance the increased short arms from the ruck change above.

    I'd suggest that's completely the wrong approach. You want to incentivize maintaining power athletes in those positions. The more scrums they do, the tireder they become so less effective in defence.

    Depends on the approach the coach wants to take with his squad. Have a bunch of power units who will lap up the anaerobic work all day and take penalties? Maybe put out some dynamic types who will do just enough to get a quick heel and beat their opponents around the park.

    Either way, you're going to get teams choosing options that suit their game plan and corresponding strengths and weaknesses.

    And on the face of it I'd support a change in approach that provided that level of flexibility. We may well find that one is clearly better than the other. If that's negative at least the option is always there to roll back or amend the laws/ interpretations.

    I know people often complain that the laws keep changing, but clearly what we're doing now is so turgid the game has to change.



  • @Kiwiwomble said in State of the Game:

    @Kruse said in State of the Game:

    No kicking tees. Penalties and conversions are taken as drop-goals.
    Stops the tactics of penalty-hunting from anywhere in opposition half, and hopefully penalty-hunting in general. And speeds up the game.
    But - I realise this is in the realm of @Rapido 's ideas... never gonna happen, as apparently the skill of place-kicking has become as entrenched as the one underlying rugby-law... "everything should be a contest"

    id like this, its why I don't like so many different reasons penalties, I always saw penalties as punishments for cheating, penalty for a "lazy runner" for example, the odd one might be lazy but must are just shagged...loosing points because theyre shagged? loosing points because you're not as strong as the other scrum?

    I'd say in the case of lazy running, you want to penalise them every time because you want to remove subjective interpretation about a player's fitness/ willingness to get out of the way.

    I'd like to see a change that being overpowered isn't penalised, but dropping the bind etc. is so that a scrum remains a contest and if you can't compete you obviously lose the ball. This may entail the ability of the non-offending team to kick for a lineout, but not to shoot at goal.

    Of course I don't ever see the NH agreeing to such a change.



  • Feels like there are two mini threads going here - one is how to fix the game right now and one is how we could reform rugby. For the second, widening the field isn't really an option, so reducing the number of players would be the easiest way of getting more space. I'd say you could drop one loosie and one three-quarter and the game would still be basically the same, but with less muscle and turnover capacity and fewer ppl covering the backfield. That could make a massive difference.

    Knowing that would never happen, I think anything to speed up play and bring the balance back towards the attacking side is needed.

    IMO, th easiest would be to allow ARs to call penalties for offside, so that the ref will be primarily on the breakdown and general play, but the distance between the teams is enforced by those on the side (and the ref). The ARs don't need to be in the field of play, and it would be that there needs to clearly be space between the back of the ruck (not last feet) and the defending team. That should get back 30-50cm, perhaps even nearly a metre,which should make a big difference.

    I'd also bring in something about the defending player having the right to the space for box kicks, which might discourage them a little and reduce some of the more dangerous clashes we've had.



  • God this thread clearly shows internet forums are populated by middle age men, I'm just waiting to shout bingo when somebody starts a post with "in my day..."

    Anyway, don't think rugby is in bad place right now, but then again I'm South African, we don't care for this attacking rugby you speak of. For me it is more about preserving the integrity of the sport than forcing everyone to play a certain way.

    A couple tweaks that I think might help.

    Keep the bench at 8 players but only 4 substitutions (including injuries, but excluding HIA and blood.)

    Allow the ball to be kicked out on the full from anywhere on the pitch. This is more philosophical gripe of mine, the team with ball should have as many options as possible. At the moment nobody wants the ball 5 meter outside their 22 cause there are so few good options other than banging it up in the air.

    A shot clock on all restarts. 40 seconds for all scrums, line outs and kicks at goal. At pro level I'd be fine with the clock running 40 seconds off the clock and then stopping at scrum resets as long as the ref is happy everyone is trying their best to get on with the game.

    Apply the fucking rules. Refs are letting so much go in the name of the flow of the game that any decision they do make is arbitrary. At the pro levels the players know what they are doing and will push the ref as far he'll let them.

    Furthermore, clamp down hard on the bullshit. Scrum half runs off with ball to make sure there is no quick tap - March his team ten. Offend under advantage - default should be yellow. Holding players (why would you ever need to grab someone's leg at a ruck)- penalize every fucking time.

    Stop penalizing props for get shoved back, be stricter on loose forwards being bound and back lines remaining 5 meters back.



  • I tend to vacillate between despairing about the state of the game and being more philosophical that current trends are just a part of the inevitable ebb and flow of modern rugby where you have periods of attack predominating followed by period of defence predominating.

    One thinks back to the 2007-2009 period, including that world cup, where defence and kicking really was the order of the day and the ABs were found out really badly under the high ball. But, by 2010, we had turned that weakness into a strength whereby we became the best in the world under the high-ball, completely nullifying its effectiveness and forcing other teams to develop new ways of beating us that a lot of the time involved running the ball - see how many high-scoring, but pretty tight test matches we played out in that 2010-2016 period.

    These days, although the box kick is still widely used (overused to be fair), it's actually not that effective as a disruptive tactic like it was between 2007-2009. That's because teams got better at dealing with it - they became better at catching bombs, better at shepherding the catcher, developed better support lines to get back into position to prevent a turnover and also better at pressuring the halfback. The result is largely shithouse, pointless box kicks that achieve very little other than to advance your team up the field marginally but put the opposition in a difficult part of the field to attack from. It's rare these days that you get to see two guys going up and actually competing for a high ball and even rarer that it gets spilled and presents a counter-attacking opportunity. I think (hope) teams will start to use it less and less as they come to the conclusion that all they're doing is giving the ball away within goal-kicking range.

    Bringing this back full circle, yes, the game is probably just nearing midway through a cycle where defence prevails. 2018-2019 still saw a lot of really good attacking play, but I think England and RSA making the RWC final last year has set the tone for at least a couple of more years. You can already see England have become even more defence oriented, a bit more Bok-like, as I'm sure Eddie will have taken to heart the manner in which his team were outmuscled in that match.

    My only concern is how this affects the ABs - I'm a bit selfish like that. Using 2007-2009 as a lesson, my view is that we have to be pragmatic and turn the current trends to our advantage. Good coaching (sorely lacking currently) is obviously the best antidote to this



  • I expect if refs were harder on 9s using it quicker, making thier blockers be bound properly and not allowing them to roll the ball out with thier foot to the back of his line of blockers, and then put thier hands on it for 3 or 4 seconds as they ready for the box kick,will see less box kicking.

    9s are protected, you can attack a forward or any player other than a 9 at the back of a ruck, even if they are to clear or pick and go,but if he wears 9 you aren't allowed to touch him...why?

    A more consistent application of laws is all we want.

    I think while the game is defence oriented, it is upto attack coaches to find a way to break it, usually its us doing this but we have stagnated the past few years, keeping our powder dry for 2023.



  • @taniwharugby said in State of the Game:

    I expect if refs were harder on 9s using it quicker, making thier blockers be bound properly and not allowing them to roll the ball out with thier foot to the back of his line of blockers, and then put thier hands on it for 3 or 4 seconds as they ready for the box kick,will see less box kicking.

    I'd like to see a 'hands on = out' rule in the instances where the ball is clearly at the back of the ruck and in possession of the attacking team.

    It's unfair for that rule to apply to a regular ruck where the HB needs a bit of leeway to fish the ball out from under a tackler or something, but I think it's pretty clear when that is the case and when teams are shaping for the box kick.

    I don't hate the box kick as a general rule, what I do hate is that 20 second period where teams go 'we're going to box kick here, lets get a few more forwards in the ruck... OK now lets roll the ball back... Hmmm OK I think we're good here, let me get into position... now we kick'.


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