World Rugby has trialled a number of controversial new laws over the last 12 months.
The new laws were introduced in attempt to foster attacking rugby but have been met with much criticism.
In Wales, an alternative scoring system which saw teams awarded six points for a try and teams awarded two points rather than three for a conversion or drop goal- was abandoned after just one season.
Trialled laws governing the breakdown in New Zealand have now suffered a similar fate, having been abandoned after just one season once again. These laws meant a ruck was formed as soon as a player from the attacking team supports the player on the ground, resulting in neither side being able to use their hands in the ruck once the attacking player was in position- whether they were on their feet or not.
These laws radically changed the breakdown and resulted in fewer turnovers during the Mitre 10 Cup, but instead resulted in many players attempting to fly-hack the ball as they were unable to use their hands at ruck time. World Rugby as a result have decided to abandon the trials, but are still in favour of not allowing the tackler to contest for possession in future trials.
New Zealand Rugby high performance referee manager Rod Hill said the trial perhaps went too far but had to be tried to find out what would work and what wouldn’t work.
”One of the key things is we’ve still got to have a contest and we quite haven’t got that right. So if we can allow that first arriving player to have a dig for that ball then I think we might have got the happy medium,” Hill said.
”We are trying to have a game for all sizes and we still want that fetcher. The opportunity for them to come in and get the ball but having said that we went the players up off their feet. If you change the laws you can get the players up.
”It is not the tackler who makes the turnover, it is the first arriving player. If we can keep that first arriving player in the game then we might have found that happy medium.”
Hill said they may have gone a little bit too far in what they were thinking.
World Rugby had decided to use these new amended breakdown laws in domestic competitions around the world over the next year. If the trial was successful it may be introduced in Super Rugby in 2018.
Hill did say however, he was glad the trial took place.
”I knew it was going to make great change for the players, the coaches and the referees. And change does not happen in five minutes. We’re just getting to the stage now in the last couple of rounds we have had better breakdowns.
”At the end of the day a trial is a trial. You don’t know the outcome until you do the trial.”
What do you think? Does the breakdown still need work or should World Rugby leave it as it is? [NZ Herald]