Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Monday, August 04, 2008

IRB Guide to Experimental Law Variations

The International Rugby Board's Experimental Law Variations (ELV's) are now in full effect, having got underway globally on August the 1st. The worldwide, 12 month trial will encompass all levels of the game, incorporating 13 experimental laws that were approved by the IRB Council at their recent meeting in Dublin.

The ELV’s have been trialled in the Super 14, and are currently on display in the Tri Nations. They have been well received by players and fans alike so far, and the next phase of progression will be to see if they will be positively received in Europe.

While the ELV's are designed to simplify the game, they've been widely criticised by many, particularly those in the Northern Hemisphere who feel that the new laws are purely in the interest of teams like Australia, who will benefit from the style of play the laws encourage.

Rod Macqueen, member of the IRB’s Laws Project Group working on the ELV’s dismisses those claims, stating that the laws are merely to return the game to what it once was.

“The people that are saying the ELV’s are designed to make the game faster etc, that was never the case, that has never been part of the criteria. The criteria has always been to make sure that we kept it a game for all shapes and sizes, but try and make it simpler and in a lot of ways bring it back to the game we used to have when there was actually more space on the field and more breaks to be able to come about.

“In fact the game that we have got today, that we saw in the World Cup, under the current laws is quite different to what the game was like 20 years ago. In fact dramatically different.”

The IRB will meet again early next year to decide whether the proposed laws should be adopted for good or not. Their goal is to get a single set of laws agreed upon as soon as possible.

Results so far have been positive. In this year’s Super 14 there were more tries, fewer lineouts, fewer penalties kicked, and the ball was in play longer. There were roughly the same number of scrums, more mauls and many more free kicks.

A recent survey has also shown that 83 percent of players playing under the new laws found them to be a positive for rugby, with almost 90 percent of the 260 respondents stating the laws were easy to understand and result in more continuity.

But, for the critics, ‘Why fix something that isn’t broken?’ has become the cliché of choice recently, with fans and former players questioning the move to turn the game into more of a Rugby League type contest.

The reality is such that like it or not, it’s going to happen, and we have to adjust to it for now whether it becomes permanent or not.

The IRB are by no means out to ruin rugby. They are however experimenting with a few changes that may well improve certain aspects of the game for all involved.

Former England flanker Neil Back is one who is optimistic, keeping an open mind about the laws that many have pessimistically dismissed.

"The ELVs are here to stay, for this season at least. I approach them as with anything else new in life and in rugby: you have got to be positive. I don't entirely agree with the rule changes, as I've said before, but it is important that we embrace them and deal with them."

This 17 minute video released by the IRB hopes to give you a better understanding of the ELV's, with footage used to further explain how they look in action.

If you'd like to read further, or have the laws as reference, you can download them here. (right click - save target/link as)

Time: 17:20



  • about time you posted this its been knocking around youtube for ages!

    im all for them....and besides if im not theres not much i can do can i?

    By Anonymous bD, at August 04, 2008 2:22 pm  

  • most of them are stupid such as collapsing the maul and hands in the ruck, there is no need for them rugby is the only sport that has lots of diversity with these stupid new laws we lose that. also fitter players will be needed in the forwards because there will be less need for power making the forwards backs essentialy losing rugbys attitude of all shapes and sizes the only reasonable ones are the passing of quick throws and 5 metres at the scrum. SANZAR stop trying to suit the game to your needs just to stop players leaving

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 04, 2008 2:50 pm  

  • i am quite astonished how we in a very minor league get to play elv's next season allready

    By Blogger sebastian, at August 04, 2008 2:52 pm  

  • Why don't we just ask the Aussies to write the Laws however they want?
    1) No scrums
    2) all kicks for post from hand (ostensibly to speed up the game)
    3) play on an oval
    4) TJs must dress in white suits, straight out of some Colonel Sander's look-a-like contest

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at August 04, 2008 3:14 pm  

  • Interesting read and vid.

    I guess I'm not fussed either way. You have to have faith at times in life.

    One thing I don't understand is why many people from the NH blame the SH for this? The IRB is based in Dublin and is essentially 'British' (I use the term loosely). There are some SH members, but this is an international rugby board decision, not a SANZAR one. Only thing SANZAR did was back it I think.

    Not so?

    But anyway, ELV's or not, they need to make a decision and just stick with it so there's less confusion.

    By Anonymous Shaft, at August 04, 2008 3:15 pm  

  • The reason the NH en mass seems to be blaming these on the SH is part mis-information definitely, but it is also largely due to the comments and attitudes of people like John O'Neil, who seems to have little interest in the game, it's history and those who play it outside of the Australian national team and their franchises in the S14.

    Interested to see how these pan out for us at the lower levels this coming season, the changes we face in the UK don't feel like a bad thing. But there's no doubt that many of the changes suggested are aimed at dealing with problems the game has already dealt with naturally. Near unbreachable defences and games one by the side with the best goal kicker have become (for the most part) things of the past. And could perhaps have been dealt with by a far simpler reduction in the number of points awarded for a penalty or drop goal (something far more in keeping with he development of the games rules in the past).

    My largest fear is that we'll see changes adopted simply because they have been introduced, that poor management will mean this isn't a trial at all, but a revolution by stealth. And yes, a revolution that will reduce the diversity of players attracted to the game.

    By Anonymous hackney griffin, at August 04, 2008 4:04 pm  

  • wait i don't understand the rule about hands in th ruck will someone please explain?...are you just allowed to put your hands in whenever you want?

    By Anonymous Greg Turner, at August 04, 2008 4:27 pm  

  • I would bet that this is the IRB's idea of globalizing the game; attempting to make the game more 'appealing' so that it is supposedly 'easier' to export it to places such as USA or China.
    I dont see how its easier to adjudicate the mauls this way. with the pulling down...
    THere must be at least 5 players not defending the maul ending at aprox. 3:10
    And it seems to me that the IRB are using a competition where the level of play and skill is always high to show that the ELVs are a success.
    I hope that the NH unions, at least, will stop the 'introduction by stealth' that hackney griffin was talking about.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 04, 2008 5:25 pm  

  • How can that tw@t Rod Macqueen say it's a game for all shapes and sizes when there are less scrums, line-outs etc etc. teams will slowly start to look like rugby league teams. Which is not for all shapes and sizes. There is skill involved in mauling, scrummaging, kicking and line-outs and anyone that plays the game can appreciate that. I personally found the world cup pretty exciting and a very closely fought competition.

    No i'm not a fat prop.

    By Anonymous andy, at August 04, 2008 5:32 pm  

  • can anyone clarify if this is goin to school boy level because if it is fuck the irb

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 04, 2008 5:47 pm  

  • Andy, "In this year’s Super 14 there were more tries, fewer lineouts, fewer penalties kicked, and the ball was in play longer. There were roughly the same number of scrums, more mauls and many more free kicks."

    If you've watched any of the recent games under the ELV's you'll see that the scrum is still just as important, if not more important, than before.

    There is actually extra impetus on having a solid scrum, as the extra space with the 5m law means that the platform is one you can launch off creatively on attack.

    There's no doubt teams have to be slimmer and trimmer than ever before, but it's by no means going to turn into League.

    The next few months will be interesting to watch, as I myself am a little sceptical of some of the laws, but remain positive in the knowledge that this confusion will more than likely only be temporary.

    By Anonymous Sharky, at August 04, 2008 6:01 pm  

  • Havent encountered many in favour of the new laws at all in Ireland, the collapsing of the maul is stupid, the line out changes are pointless. All union needed was a tightening up of the rules around rucks and mauls (i.e enforce the current rules more stringently).

    By Blogger Ross, at August 04, 2008 6:13 pm  

  • ELVs suck beyond belief - turning rugby into aerial ping pong

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 04, 2008 6:35 pm  

  • that try by matt giteau in the "5 meter scrum" portion was absolutely textbook.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 04, 2008 7:40 pm  

  • The ELVs, while not entirely without merit, will most definately be the begginning to the end of the game. In a pathetic attempt to simplify and rubbish our game in order to export it to countries where people are too stupid to grasp the game, America being a good example.

    The IRB are a set of bastards. I wouldn't trust them as far as i could throw them.

    And as a fan of both LEAGUE and UNION, i don't need Union speeding up. I have a simple, free flowing, faster code in League if thats what i want.

    Which is interesting. As most cross-code fans seem to be heavily against the ELVs, as am i.

    Where as most strictly Union fans seem to favour it more.

    All in all. There is no CHOICE or TRIAL. WE will be forced to COMPLY through guerilla tactics, regardless of whether we reject it, and that's the end of it.

    And THAT is why it's aload of bollocks. Because it's not experimental, nor is it positive for the game. I think the Super 14 season just gone is proof enough.

    By Anonymous Rancid, at August 04, 2008 7:53 pm  

  • can anyone clear this one up?

    if the ball is kicked towards a player and that player puts his foot into touch, and picks up/catches the ball it is deemed to have been kicke "straight out" but only if the ball is moving.

    By Anonymous ben, at August 04, 2008 7:57 pm  

  • I love how it says there has been concern mauls have become increasingly difficult to defend...well yeah, that's the point of them. Maybe there could be a 5 metre rule where teams are allowed to collapse the maul once it has travelled over 5 metres so it stops pushover tries from the 22 but still rewards teams that go for the corner on penalties instead of kicking. The clips of it being a "potent attacking force" are just examples of teams being sh!t at pulling down a maul - which won't last long.

    Also, the scrums have, if anything, become more important with the 5 metre rule now. They are much more of an attacking option from a free-kick and a solid scrum is a base for a lot of havoc.

    I still think referees should use their judgement as to whether something is worthy of a free-kick or a penalty. Some of the free-kicks in the tri-nations have been very cynical and clearly worthy of penalties and borderline yellow cards based on the "old" rules.

    I'm not a fan of the majority of the new rules, i think some of them are sensible - the amount of penalties being conceded was getting very tedious. But penalties are being replaced with scrums that still have a tendancy to collapse which is more boring and frustrating to watch. I'm very interested to see what it'll be like to play under them though this season.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 04, 2008 8:02 pm  

  • Ben, I presume you're referring to that mess with Adam Ashley Cooper during the match on the weekend? If yes, then, I have no idea what he was doing and Murray Mexted was just as confused.

    From what I understand the application of that kind of law is only for the dead ball line, where if the ball is moving and you have a foot out, it'll be taken back from where it was kicked (I think).

    In terms of the straight out thing, nah, they were all confused there I'm sure. If the ball was in the air though, obviously that would be different. That one bounced though.

    Hopefully someone else can back me up on this though, as I was pretty perplexed as to why there was even an issue there, as it seemed obvious to me.
    Hope that helped.

    By Anonymous Shaft, at August 04, 2008 8:13 pm  

  • stupid laws as a 15 year old i have just got to grips of the rules in the proper game and now the irb are forcing these stupid rules its ridiculous. by all means sanzar have argentina in the tri nations make new play offs and franchises but dont change the laws you twats

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 04, 2008 9:29 pm  

  • It's only a matter of time before you're going to be playing the ball behind you with two markers...

    By Blogger Dain, at August 04, 2008 9:30 pm  

  • Rancid,

    Couldn't agree more.

    Rugby union is like chess.

    League is checkers (one body type, and you simply go forward all day).

    The ELVs are rugby's equivalent of eliminating half the [red] spaces on the board, and saying, "we want to make the game simplier and easier to understand".

    Just because the checkers players (Aussie) don't like having to develop specialized pieces, does that mean we make everyone either a pawn or a king?

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at August 04, 2008 9:51 pm  

  • there are way too many changes being made at once with the elvs. i think it was john o'neil who criticized the NH for being resistnat towards trialing the elvs claiming that it would create 2 sets of the game and make international play difficult. This proves that the elvs are too radical of a change for the game if their implementin is going to shift the nature of the game so much that it wont be comparable to the game before 2008. Are the elvs good? some parts may be such as the 5m scrum offside line(which i personally dont like, but am open to) but others are dumb and dnagerous such as the maul law. Regardless of the merit of each law, such law changes need to be done in a slow and controled manner to preserve the spirit of the game. while the elvs arent anywhere near as radical as allowing forwards passes or obstruction, they do change the game too dramatically and too quickly.

    By Anonymous conde, at August 04, 2008 10:45 pm  

  • i believe if you did a poll of fans and players in the northern hemisphere you would find opinion against it. The IRB actually sent out an email survey days before there decision, too late to make any impact of course, as they had intended. They never release the result of that survey.

    I would put money on the northern hemisphere unions only voting these in after being offered tours by the all blacks/votes for a future world cup etc. Its corrupt secret bollocks. As a member of a club in the IRFU we never were asked our opinions as a club/members/players on a new set of rules that we are forced to "experiment" on next year.

    Also the australians have said that they will not go back to the original rules making it clear that this is no experiment as they are set to them.

    By Blogger Ross, at August 04, 2008 11:15 pm  

  • They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Yeah - it was broke.

    Did any of you guys watch the RWC final?

    Compare that with the recent Bledisloe matches - there is no comparison...

    If you love rugby, support the ELVs, you get more actual rugby!

    And for those who miss the good ol' days of non stop penalty goals - there's always AFL.

    By Blogger James Lillis, at August 04, 2008 11:28 pm  

  • Let's give them a fair trial. I thought Union WAS becoming League over the last couple of years what with offensive guys lying on the ball carrier and defenders just standing there with one hand on the pile, swiping idly at the scrum half. Maybe this will work, because getting the top-level refs to actually enforce the rules against hands-in and bridging doesn't seem to work.

    By Anonymous Ref, at August 04, 2008 11:55 pm  

  • I think this will make the game somewhat more exciting. Someone noted if it isn't broken...well it is. The northern hemisphere, England especially (as much as I hate to say it), are killing the flow of the game. As someone who has played both codes, I don't like when teams play kick ping pong back and forth all day. As a spectator I'd hate it. At least in RL you are forced to run it more, which is what I think the IRB is going for. Teams killing the rucks is not good for spectators either, it kills the flow and allowing hands in will hopefully get the game flowing some more seeing as the refs wouldn't enforce it anyway. The forcing teams to line up 5m away from the scrum is also opening up the field to create more back line plays similar to the 10m given after RL ruck. This will create a more exciting experience for the fans in my opinion. I guess we'll see what happens...but if you're a league boy and want to make a code change into RU, now would be the time to do it. RL payers should be able to adjust to RU back-line play pretty well seeing as being in the pack is a completely different beast...

    By Blogger Dain, at August 05, 2008 12:53 am  

  • in reply to James, the biggest 3 club matches this year where the super 14 final, guiness premiership final, top 14 final and heniken cup final.

    the quality of the super 14 matches did not compare in anyway to the level in the northern hemisphere, where people are quite happy watching matches, attendances are rising, whilst in the SH attendances are falling in Auz and NZ. Spot a trend here!

    By Blogger Ross, at August 05, 2008 2:43 am  

  • Some of these I think are good and will create more open play, for example the 5m scrum. Some of them are stupid and dangerous.

    For example, an Argentine amateur player named Juan Cruz Miglore died earlier this year in a match in which the ELVs were being trialled after a maul was collapsed on to of him - it was a neck injury, I believe. I am firmly against collapsing mauls because it is dangerous.

    What next? "The scrum is too dangerous, let's make it unopposed"? Maybe "the scrum is too hard to contest, so let's make it so you can collapse it"? That second one would make about as much sense as the rule on mauls, and be comparably as dangerous.

    By Anonymous The Other Felix, at August 05, 2008 2:52 am  

  • Whatts ur problem with Aussies Cheyanquí.

    If you care to do some actual research the ELV's were actually developed in South Africa.

    Just because the ARU is all for the Elv's does not mean we were behind the conspiracy you make it out to be.

    i personally would only like 3 elv rules pass.
    1. no passing back into 22 to kick out on full
    2. 5 metere gap
    3. lineout balls can be thrown backwards

    grow up and stop bad mouthing aussies

    By Anonymous Chris, syd Aust, at August 05, 2008 7:55 am  

  • Awww, poor Northern Hemisphere nations. They might actually, heaven forbid, have to start attacking to win rugby games!! How despicable! Surely this must not be allowed. For what good is a game of rugby if we do not make it as boring as batshit and leave our kicker to win the game for us?

    Give me a break. Watch Bledisloe 1 from start to finish. It is by far the best game of rugby I've seen in a decade. The infield kicking game has become more important than ever with the changes to kicking from the 22, and Giteau and Barnes exploited this to perfection. The changes to penalties mean more scrums, not less.

    Beginning of the end of the game? Please. These laws will breathe new life into rugby.

    And as for League being a case of only one size, I suggest you watch Preston Campbell, Benji Marshall, Jonathan Thurston, Scott Prince et al in action.

    If you're too fat to keep up in an athletic sport, go and play darts for a living.

    By Anonymous westdog54, at August 05, 2008 9:12 am  

  • I have to completly agree with James Lillis, everything he said made complete sense. The ELV's have made the game that much better to watch with more tries than ever. The Tri-Nations is proof of how good they are and the world cup is proof of how badly rule changes were needed. Also Cheyanqui what the hell is your problem with australia, seriously shut up you dont know what your talkin about

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 05, 2008 9:27 am  

  • So far I like the ELV's (with the exception of bringing down mauls). I am not sure why people are saying it makes the game like leauge, that is rubbish.

    The most significant aspect is that it allows teams to play more aggressive running rugby instead of it being a kick a thon with teams trading penalties. Now we actually see teams take taps and run to score tries, which is positive rugby!

    The scrum is still vitally important, if your forwards are not doing the work your backs are are always going to struggle.

    The AB's have highlighted how a structured game is still superior. So far nothing has been lost but much has been gained.

    By Anonymous Hangover, at August 05, 2008 11:12 am  

  • Ross, what are you basing your assessment of the Super 14 vs the NH on? Just because the Millenium Stadium was packed with Munster fans, and Christchurch has a small stadium with less atmosphere, doesn't mean that the rugby is any different on the pitch.

    I actually thought the Heineken Cup final was pretty boring in most parts, with the only thing making it enjoyable being the actual atmosphere created by the pundits, the crowd, and the build up of it all.

    It seems as though a lot of NH people hear things, then cement them in the their head without actually finding out for themselves, ie: Super 14 this year was bad, Australians are behind the ELV's. Funny how they've become the scapegoat for all of this!

    As mentioned by someone here, Bledisloe 1 was a prime example of what the game can be under the ELV's, with the match surpassing any other contest we've seen in a long time. The point being that the rules haven't changed the game that much after all, and it's not the end of the world.

    The WC knockout stages were nothing like the earlier games. The final in particular was hardly a spectacle, and could have done with some quick taps etc. It was a bad advert for rugby IMO.

    Conclusion so far here seems to be:
    NH - dead against it as change is bad.
    SH - open minded and willing to give it a chance.

    By Anonymous Sharky, at August 05, 2008 11:15 am  

  • But i dont agree with the collapsing of the maul rule it is kinda pointless they are quite a good aspect of the game

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 05, 2008 11:15 am  

  • The Other Felix, this is absolutely not true "For example, an Argentine amateur player named Juan Cruz Miglore died earlier this year in a match in which the ELVs were being trialled after a maul was collapsed on top of him"

    The story has been twisted to suit anti-ELV crusaders. Do some research before making statements like that please, as it just spreads the rumour further.

    Firstly, the ELV's were NOT on trial then, lets make that clear.
    Secondly, according to an eye witness:
    "I have to say that he died in a ruck, not a maul. he was caught under five players after a ruck collapsed on him, but not under a maul."
    Another witness has said:
    "Migliore was tackled and he fell down, inmediately five players of the opponent team formed a ruck and the ball came out quickly, it took no more than 10 seconds for the whole situation."

    Whether it was a hit to the back of the head as some have said, or a broken neck, is unclear to me at this stage, but point is I want to clear up that this had nothing to do with the ELV's, or even a collapsed maul.

    By Anonymous Greiffel, at August 05, 2008 11:45 am  

  • I can't believet he level of support these ELV's have found here. They've turned the game in to a structureless mix of 7's, league and tap rugby!! And to those people who have sited how "great" the tri nations has been this year, IMO there has only been two really good games, the last one and when the Boks beat the AB's. Because in those two games the fly-halves were able to put some kind of structure in to the games by kicking for touch. In the rest of the games the breakdown area has been a complete farce, especially in the first Aus vs N.Z. game, which became ridiculous by the end (look at rocky Elsom's try, the forwards were all so wrecked from running around like headless chickens that all they could do was stand back and look at him.)

    By Blogger pcasey, at August 05, 2008 12:10 pm  

  • ELVs are rubbish.

    Mauls, scrums, rucks. That's what I think of when I think rugby. Without these things what would rugby be?

    ELVs: no mauls.
    - Scrums are much less important, and do not apply any pressure to the back line.
    - Hands in the ruck - wtf! where would the fun go of doing it illegaly?? also if some wanker lands on the wrong side to slow down your ball, what are you supposed to do? you get carded for 'hooking' on him so all you can do is cry to the ref.

    Why does everyone want to make rugby an international sport?? Lets face it, rugby is all about our culture - anglo-saxons, celts, thats what we've done for centuries: fought, then got drunk.

    I know why the IRB want it that way. Money. THAT is the only reason that new laws were made in the first place. The IRB is a corporation and rugby is it's merchandise.

    Rugby should be fun to play, not entertaining to watch.

    This should not be a fight between SH en NH, it should be against commercialism.

    If this 'trial' goes on more than a season, I might seriously think about changing sports.

    - Flanker (openside), U19s

    By Anonymous tim, at August 05, 2008 12:40 pm  

  • Tim - I hear you. It actually makes me angry these rules are being forced and i think it's signalling the end of rugby as we know it. I liked that comparison with chess and chequers. Rugby is an intelligent game and should be fun and rewarding to play, if you understand the sport you can happily watch a so called boring low scoring battle of attrition as there is just as much skill involved in that too. Why simplify it? if you're thick play football.

    By Anonymous Andy, at August 05, 2008 1:23 pm  

  • the rules look interesting and may work for the game ....but the idea that u can safely collapse a maul is mad stupid and dangerous ... that is a seriously stupid change.

    the others see how they pan out. The game was going static so the 5m thing should make things more fun, I think hands in should not happen ether … and I cant see how that really helps anything. But the last to changes are not dangerous…. If they bring in no arm tackling then we know the game is dead.

    By Anonymous mad, at August 05, 2008 2:04 pm  

  • Give it time and these rules will be normal...it's natural to resist change but pointless because nothing stays the same...I wasn't a fan of the ELVs at first but these rule variations have now set in for me and have made for more excieting games.

    Why is everyone talking about being allowed to put your hands in a ruck...? This is still illegal...refs simply need to blow this more consistently which is not happening and grates me no end...

    The breakdown \ collision area is where rugby is overwhelmingly won however seems to be an area of the game where refs clearly have individual opinions on what is legal and what is not...some refs neve stop blowing their damn whistle and others let the game run a little willy nilly in comparison...

    Case in point the 2 Bledisloe games this year. 1st game Elsom and Smith were running amuck pilfering balls left right and center...second game the ref cut this out in the first 5mins by blowing both sides up immediatley for hands and side entries.

    By Blogger durrie, at August 05, 2008 2:57 pm  

  • honestly, I don't really understand what is the difference apart from the new rule at kicking from 22

    By Anonymous adrian, at August 05, 2008 3:11 pm  

  • collapsing of the maul is dangerous, the whole 22 stuff stupid, hands in the ruck absolutely ridiculous. these changes are so radical how can things that were illegal become completely legal thats stupid. just a way to make money, rugby isn't about money think about the amateurs who play in their millions rather than just the pros who play in their hundreds

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 05, 2008 3:23 pm  

  • Has there been any evidence of teams running backwards and waiting to be tackled in order to be able to kick the ball out? Don't really agree with this one, or any of them to be fair. So what if it's slightly boring for people that don't understand rugby.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 05, 2008 3:37 pm  

  • The 2 ELV's I was dead set against were the hands in the ruck and the changing to free kicks instead of penalties for almost everything! Now that they've dropped these 2 for the NH trial I'm pretty happy. I play social rugby for my college and we play against other Junior teams from the Dublin area who mainly comprise of hardened auld fella's who are much bigger and stronger than us. Being able to kill ball at ruck time would have destroyed us(as it does when the ref is shite and can't referee the breakdown anyway!), but most of the other ELV's are not so bad except for the being allowed to pull down the maul legally. This is fine for professional athletes but should not be allowed for the average joe out with his mates for the sunday social. It is too dangerous, full stop!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 05, 2008 4:19 pm  

  • what i don't understand is why the IRB feel the need to cater for the southern hemisphere game and SANZAR?? Also some of the laws especially the pulling down of mauls is highly dangerous.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 05, 2008 4:47 pm  

  • I think its funny reading all these comments, has anyone actually just watched that Video? the ELVs being introduced are going to have a minimal impact, all these controversial ones from the S14 such as quick taps and hands in rucks which have got everyone on their high horse are not being introduced. the actual four or five being introduced are all good ideas such as the 5m line behind scrums and quick throw ins.
    the only controversial one is pulling down mauls however i think people are being overly cautious about this, firstly the only person it is dangerous towards is the person doing it as you saw in the viodeo a lot of times the maul wasnt sacked as people dont want to! Secondly all this crap about it stopping people of different shapes and sizes playing is rubbish, it now means that the maul needs to be better organised and therefore have more skilled forwards to counter the sacking and allow you to control it (something any half decent coach would have taught you to do in recent times to prevent lineout sacks anyway) and i would like to see an 11 stone winger create a good maul!!

    My final point is that a lot of this anti ELV stuff appears to be based in nothing more than 'any change is bad' rhetoric, i imagine it was your ancestors chasing down the people who claimed the earth wasnt flat! What I mean though is Im sure when Lifting in lineouts was introduced or not being able to kick the ball straight out from outside your 22 were first introduced 30 years ago there was similar uproar - now look at how embedded they are in the game!

    so give these rules a chance, contrary to what seems popular belief the IRB doesnt hate rugby and is trying to improve the game and if these laws dont work they wont enforce them!

    p.s. im english and all this NH SH chat is bollocks, go down to New Zealand or South Africa play in a decent standard game and then tell me they dont like forward play!!

    By Anonymous fin, at August 05, 2008 5:51 pm  

  • I'm slightly sceptical about all this. Watching the video I'm not a big fan - the line out laws seem pretty good to me (although it removes the ability of the throwing in team to dictate the state of the field for the next play - it appears to be purposefully provoking a situation where there are mismatches and overlaps - these should not be so easy to come by as this makes a game more interesting.

    The video appears to be produced from a very specific perspective - that trys are good and the more of them the better. This, realistically, is a fallacy - The more trys there are, the more devalued a great try is. At the same time, the most entertaining moments of a game are often the extremely close ones. Whilst everyone appears to be slating the semi finals onwards of RWC07 (I could state that it's bitterness from Australia and New Zealand but that would be unfair, no?) The game between England and France was thrilling - I may be biased being an England fan myself, but the tension towards the end where France were threatening to score made the game compelling viewing - Whilst a try-fest can make for a great spectacle a closely fought game is often just as good, if not better, in my opinion.
    The construction of the video where the new laws yield trys is disingenuous in that respect. In addition, many of the trys are through moments of individual brilliance which are not incomparable to the current laws. The video is deliberately misleading in this respect - I'm sure that if someone had the desire to create a comparable tape of bloopers for the laws discrediting them that would be perfectly possible, in the same way that both could be sought for the current regime.

    The analogies used with Rugby being comparable to Chess I think is very accurate - It is a tactical game where gnauss and intelligence can be used to great effect. Whilst admittedly ping-pong kicking is not the most entertaining element of Rugby, it can often set up a situation where either one team is under greater pressure due to their not measuring up or they decide to go on the counter attack (I'm sure anyone would agree that this is more exciting the rarer it is). Also from what I have heard the rules regarded kicking has resulted in a lot more aimless kicking up the middle of the field, and there is less of a possibility for tactical kicking in order to gain possession.

    I am very pleased that some of the rules have not been carried over - hands in the ruck is farcical, and as mentioned, pulling down mauls is just dangerous (this has happened to me in amateur rugby and it hurt hell of a lot). The mantra of "if it's broke don't fix it" is absolutely correct when applied to the current game - Audiences in the northern hemisphere are up significantly, those in Australia and New Zealand appear to be frustrated and disenchanted by their teams performance at major tournaments. Some reasoning for this failure is attributed to there not being as many high-pressure matches in the S14 (hardly a surprise when there is no demotion to prove a sides mettle). Also, the claim that the finals of RWC07 were proof of the system being a failure is just plain wrong - big, important matches like that are almost always played in an extremely conservative fashion, simply because the stakes are so high - teams would rather take a near-guaranteed 3 than a potential 5 or 7, which when you're playing for an enormous prize is an easy decision to make. As someone previously mentioned - if you're wanting to encourage more attacking play and trys being scored then a far simpler mechanism would be altering the points for different scores. As someone said, this is far more traditional with respect to rugby's evolution to the present day - perhaps the choice between 2 and 5 points would be a sufficient psychological incentive to play in the fashion desired - certainly in the RWC03 final one of the Australian commentators that following Tuqiri's excellent try that a penalty for the English would mean they were still in it - perhaps if they had to score 3 times to overhaul that 5 points rather than 2 this would have altered their approach.

    By Blogger Toby, at August 05, 2008 8:43 pm  

  • I do not understand why the ELV's could be forced upon colts and British college's rugby this year. it seems absurd to be teaching young players new laws, which could then be scrapped after a year.

    I also think the role of a goal kicker does not make the game less interesting. JWilkinson has probably made one of the biggest impacts to our game, mainly for his undeniable skill with the boot. for a team to have a accurate goal kicker often makes the difference between winning and losing and i do not think it is something the IRB can deny, so therefore why reduce the amount of opportunities to kick at goal and allow one of the greatest most practiced skills in the game to diminish.

    To be honest as a young player all i see these changes doing is pushing the game towards the realms of what can only be described as the intensively boring league rip-off. It will be a great shame to lose the thing that makes union so special, the fact that any man/women of any size can play and enjoy the sport.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 06, 2008 1:18 am  

  • Guys - the ELV's are meant to create more tries, they're designed to create more rugby!!!

    What some here are saying amounts to this - NH games are well attended, therefore they must be really exciting.

    Um, no.

    If 80 000 people watch a boring game - it's still a boring game. RWC final case in point.

    Admit it, it was an embarrasment.

    As for those of the opinion that rugby should be fun to play, not entertaining to watch - sheesh - what if we get both? Win-win, right? ELVs mean better action and most of the players playing under them are enjoying it (83%). Bingo.

    I think at the end of the day, all of us here really enjoy rugby. To me, a game with thirty penalties means thirty periods where there's no rugby.

    And by the way, if anyone's worried that props might become obselete under the ELVs, just go talk to Tony Woodcock and see what he says...

    By Blogger James Lillis, at August 06, 2008 1:45 am  

  • why are more tries a good thing? I really enjoy tight run matches. I love watching munster grind teams down. The fact that teams can have such radically different styles is a key selling point of rugby.

    Plus though i dont have any stats to prove it, i did watching the super 14 this year and i dont think it had a higher try scoring ration than the heniken cup?

    By Blogger Ross, at August 06, 2008 2:51 am  

  • Ross - -

    Word ommission, should have been - the ELVs are NOT designed to create more tries, rather, more rugby.

    Hey, I love the bash and grind too, but that's not the issue. The ELV's don't eliminate that, they eliminate excessive stoppages. Free flowing rugby is beautiful to watch, whether it's open running or in close crash 'n' bash.


    Just go watch the tri nations!!!

    p.s. As for the similar body shapes argument - just take a look at some of the dominant ABs last Sat - Richie McCaw. Ali Willimas, M'a Nonu, Dan Carter. Spot the difference anyone...???

    By Blogger James Lillis, at August 06, 2008 3:43 am  

  • i think the new laws work well in respect to free kicks and the scrum
    i like having more tries and less penalties
    after last years world cup final anythiing to make the game less stagnant is appreciated

    the tri nations this year has had some of the most beautiful running rugby i have ever seen

    though i must agree pulling down the maul is just dangerous
    and a successful maul is one of the best things to see, why estory that?

    By Anonymous earl, at August 06, 2008 6:41 am  

  • stop giving credit to the elvs for the quality of the tri nations. the tri nations games have been good because of the quality, intensity and desire of the sides playing. france and england sent young inexperienced squads for their southern tours which is what produced the lackluster results. while austrailia and new zealand might be experimenting with their squad and dealing with the loss of experienced players they remain quality sides that each have something to prove after the world cup. the skill, intensity, and style of the players are the main factors of the quality of the matches.

    By Anonymous conde, at August 06, 2008 8:29 am  

  • Okay - let's go through this one more time...

    Less Stoppages. More Rugby.

    Conde, we all know that the ABs and Wallabies matches are going to be good. That's a given. What the ELVs do is give you more of it!

    Under the ELVs the ball is in play longer. Isn't that what we all want?

    By Blogger James Lillis, at August 06, 2008 9:55 am  

  • ELVs will always be better then the ORCs (old rule choice) .
    Haven't you seen lord o the rings ?

    By Blogger boomshanka, at August 06, 2008 1:01 pm  

  • There are a few problems with the ELV debate, these are some of my concerns.

    Firstly, what the ELV's do is to force a game with fewer stoppages, to make it more fluid. (or at least that is the intent) However, by upping the pace, from the S14/ Tri Nations games I've seen, this has meant that the players are so tired after 30 minutes each half that mistakes and errors creep in. This makes the rugby error-prone and less of a spectacle. Sure, it causes more tries/ linebreaks (because defences are much more tired) but that isn't 'earning' your tries. The defences have been terrible in some matches. So, the entire point of the ELV's (to make rugby more accessible to casual viewers) is undermined.

    Secondly, the ELV's attract a NH vs. SH style debate. What many from the SH don't seem to understand (or refuse to acknowledge) is that the rugby we saw at the RWC (conservative and cautious, and one reason for pushing the ELV's) is NOT how ALL NH rugby is played. England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and France all have a very different ethos to rugby. The variety is there, and to be honest Rugby Union is all about variety. Let teams play how they want to play, it's only the fault of the opposition if they can't adapt to beat them (e.g. the SH experience in the knockouts at the World Cups)

    By Anonymous Huw, at August 06, 2008 1:47 pm  

  • All this NH vs. SH malarky has got nothing to do with anything. The IRB are an international panel...

    I was not very impressed with the ELVs when they were introduced but am used to seeing my home team play them in the S14 now and this years 3N has produced 2 awesome run away games engendered by the ELVs and two tight games because two old foes would not back down...tight games will still abound under the ELVs...why wouldn't they...???

    By Blogger durrie, at August 06, 2008 3:30 pm  

  • My opinion on the elvs for anyone who wants to hear it is that they are good bar a few.

    I like the collapsing of the maul one as it is not as simple as people think! and it encourages a faster game and we might get to see some rugby as it was played in the likes of leinster in 2001/02 not this modern Munster crap.

    As for the off side line for scrums; i am very unhappy about them. All a team needs to do when the have a 5 meter scrum is a no. 8 pick to the blind side and run towards the defending winger with the attacking winger ready for a switch or ready to stay as close to the touch line as possible if the defending winger is drawn in by the no. 8, there's nothing the defending team can do because there 5 meters back and by the time they get to the no.8 or winger they have broken the gain line and have enough momentum to take them over!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 06, 2008 5:26 pm  

  • These rules are probably the right thing for the game. Collapsing the maul by pulling the body rather than the legs is largely safe, and the other rules will speed up the game. And this will not create a NH/SH divide because several NH teams (eg. Toulouse, Ospreys) plays fast attacking rugby anyway.
    Just for the record, I am a 16 year old English 2nd/back row.

    By Anonymous timmy, at August 06, 2008 5:49 pm  

  • Unfortunately the ELV debate does have some connection to the NH vs. SH debate. People perceive the NH as conservative in their game, and the SH as somehow playing a 'better' game. In fact it's not 'better' but 'different'.

    Rugby has peculiar 'national styles' and a diversity that I don't want to see lost, and unfortunately many see the ELV's as forcing the hand of every union. Change for the sake of change is not a logical step. In the real world 'why not?' is not a valid answer.

    NH domestic rugby is getting stronger by the minute - attendance records are broken every year. The idea that the current rules are 'boring' and stop the expansion of the market doesn't make sense.

    To many it looks like the IRB are bailing out the SH domestic rugby scene (which is in decline) by making it more 'Tv-friendly'. It's no wonder the NH are opposed, because changing a winning business formula is economic suicide.

    By Anonymous H, at August 06, 2008 5:55 pm  

  • The comment are getting a bit long. here is a short on though, start training with them on Thurs so will get back to you.

    By Anonymous martin-offload, at August 06, 2008 6:28 pm  

  • i agree with timmy. collapsing the maul without taking out legs IS NOT ANY MORE DANGEROUS THAN TACKLING SOMEONE. everyone only THINKS its dangerous because it's what we have all been told by coaches, other players and referees since we first started playing the game. it's been incorrectly ingrained into us and we can't now think anything else. it hasn't caused more injuries and is a good way of stopping long, boring, push-over tries.

    By Anonymous felix, at August 06, 2008 8:32 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Toby, at August 06, 2008 8:41 pm  

  • No - collapsing of mauls really is dangerous - it is not like tackling because that is focused on the ball carrier. The danger does not arrive from bringing down the original man, but the other members of the maul - they can often be driving forward at high speeds and certainly great deal of pressure when an unexpected force is exerted on them - this is exacerbated because in the early formation of a maul because not all players are facing the same direction.

    Even when the maul is formed it is still dangerous - when a textbook formation comparable to scrummaging is formed it's sudden halting could result in compression of players as the maul continues to drive forward. This is made dangerous because the force is usually applied through the shoulders, hence the possibility of adverse stresses being placed on a players neck (let alone the prospect of this becoming "trapped" and moved independently of the body) results in a considerable risk. This is why pulling down a maul is outlawed and referees were initially instructed to penalise it.

    This technique is unlikely to be dangerous in professional rugby, but that is because players are more likely to be properly coached in the appropriate techniques and are generally superior physical specimens. When this is seen in club rugby the mis-match you often get, along with players not being as tough or as well versed in the safe mechanisms, could be very dangerous (this will also make the debate a fractious one, as the likely result will be lots of injuries in the lower leagues where there is no confirmatory footage of the injury taking place, hence its exact origins cannot be ascertained).

    In addition to this, if you watch the video, one of the bringings down is affected by the tackler initially attempting to tackle correctly, failing, then slipping down and tripping the players (dangerous) and another is affected by a player seemingly hanging around a mans neck (he appears to reach over and grab the shirt on his back to bring him down) - this again, is dangerous. If the IRB cannot even find a few textbook examples to provide the public with it's quite worrying.

    By Blogger Toby, at August 06, 2008 8:44 pm  

  • not only are these new ELV's uneccisary, but they're dangourous and detremental to the progress of the game,

    they are clearly not wanted by players, coaches, or referees,

    One of the most concerning elements of the ELV expansion is the fact that it will be rolled out across the world at all levels, how can you expect juniors, colts and amature sides to adapt that quickly and surely the lack of understanding of the new laws by both referees and players will surely breed dangerous situations, one catostrophic injury is one too many and the ELV's will cause one,

    The IRB have truly F***ed up on this one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 06, 2008 8:46 pm  

  • i agree with timmy. collapsing the maul without taking out legs IS NOT ANY MORE DANGEROUS THAN TACKLING SOMEONE. everyone only THINKS its dangerous because it's what we have all been told by coaches, other players and referees since we first started playing the game. it's been incorrectly ingrained into us and we can't now think anything else. it hasn't caused more injuries and is a good way of stopping long, boring, push-over tries.

    By Anonymous felix, at August 06, 2008 10:49 pm  

  • i played a short game under the variations and for the most part it seemed positive. while my fitness laked the onus is on me to improve in that area. secondly the tactics for forwards are changed dramatically. the pitch can be split into areas with four forwards covering said area. the pod system of hitting every second odd ruck is removed with decreased prolonged competition in the ruck. the player needs to change with th game, similar to when the game turned professionals.

    By Anonymous prop1, at August 06, 2008 11:03 pm  

  • When new rules are written, why does everyone always have to poop on the American's. Yeah we love George Bush but we didn't play rugby from an age of 6 like the rest of you.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 07, 2008 10:21 am  

  • to the guy who said england are killing the game you are an idiot. Teams play to their strengths englands strength is in the pack so they move the ball up the pitch with their forwards. Nobody has a go at the all blacks because they use their backs and have alot of free flowing ball do they. the elvs are just a way of making money for the decline in the southern game. bringing down the maul is stupid as is hands in the ruck, completely radical. Also sa are apparently suffering under these new laws because they have such a structured game play and thes elvs are son unstructured

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 07, 2008 2:12 pm  

  • I completely agree with toby trys are being devalued for instance all you people out there saying watch the tri nations this is the perfect example four tries against the all balcks or wallabies would be considered amazing in the old game wheras now its typical shown by the last two tri nations matches you all say the elvs make the game more exciting obviously ping pong kicking is boring however there was no nail biting moments in these bledisoe cup matches and admit it you knew that your side were going to win after 60 minutes soon these games will be forgotten and only hard fought matches will be remembered

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 07, 2008 2:48 pm  

  • I think it's becoming clear that a lot of people knock the ELVs simply as a gut reaction ("It's the end of the game! We'll all be playing league!").

    Some of the comments here are just really not very well thought through. For example:

    they are clearly not wanted by players, coaches, or referees,

    Which part of 83% do you not understand?

    Change for the sake of change is not a logical step. In the real world 'why not?' is not a valid answer.

    How about change for the sake of too-many-boring-unnecessary-stoppages in-play, does that work better for you? And as for 'why not?', no one has said that. There are a bucket load of reasons why - creating a more exciting free flowing game would be a good one.

    trys are being devalued

    Really? I'm sure the athletes who busted up their bodies in some of the most intensely physical rugby would appreciate you saying that. Tri Nations game 1: one try apiece. Tri Nations game 2: three tries all up. Tri nations game 3: two tries to Aus, none to SA. Do you guys even bother watching the matches before you give your opinion of them?

    four tries against the all balcks or wallabies would be considered amazing in the old game

    They still are. In case you missed it, the entire nation of NZ nearly imploded as a result. A couple of years ago, under the old laws, NZ posted back to back half-centuries against both Aus and SA.

    Also SA are apparently suffering under these new laws

    Those poor suffering Springboks. Beating the All Blacks at Carisbrook for the first time EVER. Yeah, my heart bleeds for them.

    there was no nail biting moments in these bledisoe cup matches ... only hard fought matches will be remembered

    Yeah, more penalties, more stoppages in play, and less actual rugby being played would have really added to the excitement.

    ...and as for the suggestion that the Bledisloe cup matches weren't hard fought - that's just plain insulting to the players.

    By Blogger James Lillis, at August 08, 2008 4:15 am  

  • For all the ELV doubters just listen to James Lillis he knows what hes talkin about, he just proves how much better the game is with ELV's. it just dosent make sense that people dont want the game to improve

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 08, 2008 1:22 pm  

  • loads of people on here are saying the elvs give the game more rugby or whatever what you actually want to say is htat it provides more running rugby because the last time i looked mauls were still apart of rugby. dont get me wrong the world cup final was a boring game but look at the rest of the tournament not just one game for instance sa vs argentina or france vs nz these were but a few of the games where fantastic rugby was played im sure there have been a hell of alot of really crap super 14 matches this year under the elvs

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 08, 2008 2:16 pm  

  • i agree with someone or other that the kicking from your 22m line rule could become a stupid thing with players intentionally running backwards and getting tackled etc.

    i don't really think players will kick less on an amateur level because of the new law because if you're in a tricky situation you don't really have a choice - there will still be a line-out. however i could see it working on the proffessional side as kickers can aim their kicks better, leading to counter attacks in broken play = exiting rugby. i agree fully with the line-out rules though = quicker .

    i'm not sure about the maul rule as i'm a back although getting a ruck going could produce more back line stuff. i would say the forwards are the ones who will suffer the most from the elvs, especially amateur players who are not as fit as professional ones.

    my conclusion is that the elvs may be needed at the top end of rugby (wc final mentioned a couple of times!) but they are not needed in probably most amateur leagues :S

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 09, 2008 12:36 am  

  • As a referee myself, I heavily support these laws. Not liking the collapse of the mauls though. But I am aware these laws are not going to stick. The rugby community just can't stand change.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 09, 2008 1:10 am  

  • Not being able to kick for touch behind your 22 is stupid. I do like the line- out variations though. Defending a line-out will be alot easier, just bring two less defenders against the line-out to prevent any overload and use your powerhouses in the pack on the line to collapse any maul. On offense find a team foolish enough to over defend your line-out and overload like crazy. I think it will be interesting to see how these pan out.

    By Blogger yankflank, at August 10, 2008 9:00 am  

  • yankflank, you are still aloud to kick for touch behind your 22 as long as you dont bring the ball back in from outside the 22.

    By Anonymous Sean, at August 11, 2008 9:43 am  

  • God damnit...

    I really don't want to like these new laws.

    I'd like things to stay the same...I'd like to bitch and moan and say that SH teams didn't resist these enough, so now the whole world has to suffer...etc. etc.

    But, I just watched some of the tri-nations matches (a little slow to it, I know), and the ELVs didn't seem to make a tremendous impact, other than the ball seemed to be in play for longer periods of time, and, as a result, both sides got a bit more tired than normal. But that's it. No real confusion or anything to complain about...

    Maybe they've had more time to get accustomed to them in the SH, I don't know.

    But I think a lot of the 'flow' aspect depends on the teams playing and the referee. I just watched the USA v. Clermont match the other day, and it was simply pitiful. The ref blew the whistle every-other phase, and the match just sucked because of it. They used the ELVs as well, but that wasn't why it was a shitty game...good rugby will stay good rugby...even with some slightly new laws.

    By Anonymous elliot, at August 11, 2008 10:29 am  

  • The USA v. Clermont game was slow, but I wouldn't blame it on the ELV's too much. Clermont traveled offsides a good bit, but the fact that our US back line was pitiful is what really slowed the game. They only had four days to practice together so they will improve, I will keep the faith.

    By Blogger yankflank, at August 11, 2008 8:22 pm  

  • So the USA vs Clermont game isn't because of the ELVs but the tri nations game prove they are a good idea? Ridiculous assertion.

    By Blogger Toby, at August 11, 2008 11:16 pm  

  • I didn't mean that the USA/Clermont game makes the new ELV's a good idea. I was just stating that the ELV's were not the root of the mass stoppages in that particular example.

    By Blogger yankflank, at August 11, 2008 11:59 pm  

  • That's exactly what I said.

    What I was getting at by mentioning the USA v Clermont game was that the ELVs - even when instituted in a region that has not had much (if any) exposure to them - did not much affect the game. The game was bad because of how the teams were playing and the ref, but that's it.

    Not wanting to like the ELVs, I was hoping the game would show how much they confuse players and/or suck in general. That's not what I got out of it.

    By Anonymous elliot, at August 13, 2008 12:03 am  

  • I'm kinda confused about one thing that keeps popping up and no one comments about and its not in the video: Are hands allowed n the ruck if you're on your feet or not? could someone please respond...about everything else i'll comment about it after i play this year (living in italy they introduced them here now) although I am a front liner (hooker) I really prefer running rugby so we'll see...cheers!!

    By Blogger poccio, at August 13, 2008 1:54 pm  

  • Stas say more scrums, more tries, less penalties. The reason the NH teams don't like it is obvious. they know that if it comes down to a test of who has the best rugby players in terms of running ability, creativity, passing and all the other dynamic aspects of play, they will lose evry time. Because ultimatley the strategy for most NH teams boils down to milking penalties from sympathetic refs in order to avoid having to run the ball over the try line.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 21, 2009 5:10 am  

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