Should we make new rules for the Rugby World Cup (RWC)? In light of the various criticisms that have surfaced regarding the “boring” matches at the RWC (for example, see NZ Herald: Has Rugby Become Boring?[link defunct]), I have heard that they are looking at changing some of the rules. The criticisms largely revolve around the lack of daring (little breakthroughs) and too much kicking (punts, up and unders, drop goals, penalty kicks…). A good article on the topic of the proposed Experimental Law Variations (ELV) that are being proposed down under is here from Rugby Rewind. [defunct link]

I have heard that the IRB are reviewing the ruck (merci Matthieu!). The rule change would be to disallow the opposing team to handle the ball once a ruck has been formed in order to get the ball out faster. The second proposition I have heard is that they are considering eliminating the ability to throw back into your 22m in order to kick directly into touch.

I have been pondering a couple of other suggestions that I thought I might start here for you rugby fans.

1/ You can only kick directly into touch from behind your goal line. Considering the hefty boot that players have today, maybe this won’t stop the kicking, but it will make the act much more perilous.

2/ To the extent you could only kick into touch from behind your goal line, another idea would be to make the 22 dropout a 0 dropout. In other words, if you touch back, the drop must be taken on your goal line. This will make you think twice whether or not you should run out or kick from deep within.

2/ Disallow forwards [e.g. front and second row] from joining the back line. This would be awfully difficult to arbitrate, but American Football finds ways to keep certain players from changing function. The idea here would be give more space to the back line and stop, what we saw frequently happening, a massive line of defenders through which it was often just impossible to break.

What do you think?

Meanwhile, I read with great surprise the New Zealand Herald’s 1000+ page thread on the “crisis of All Blacks rugby.” The “Why do you think the All Blacks lost?” site has become a national obsession it would seem.

And, in a final point of interest, have any you ever witnessed the kicking competition at the end of a drawn match? This is the mechanic that is brought into play if after regulation period, prolongation and sudden death periods, the match is still tied, there is a place kick competition. Scroll down to see the “Kicking Competition” rules. Throughout the RWC this year, we saw a few close games but not even one game was tied at the end of regulation… much less after a sudden death period. Would that we had THAT kind of excitement!

Rugby Rumpus cartoon courtesy of Rugby Rewind.

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