Barmy thinking on the breakdown

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Apr 18, 2022, 16:56

Watching the Racing match, I came across a penalty for an extra roll. The player was at pace so the roll was only partially a Hollywood. But clearly he went with the flow. The commentators explained it was being emphasized this year to give the defending team a better shot at the ball.

Why I ask? In tests these days every time you run the ball it seems you have a 50% chance of retention. Look at the AB test we won last  year with a turnover and with NZ trying to protect the ball at all costs. The breakdown is a crap shoot.

So why run the ball….simply hoof it 50 metres down field. Encouraging running rugby has to take into account ball retention. Making the breakdown a regular contest works against that objective.

That said another thing they are policing is hands beyond  the ball….penalizing the fetcher. This is almost impossible to police accurately and so it becomes yet another rugby rule which is applied totally unpredictably …another unnecessary complexity.

The only thing these rule makers should be working on is how to create some more backline space….and less of the League look of stacked defences. You can increase the size of fields, reduce the number of players by eliminating flanks …..or regulate where the players can be on the field. One simple rule, confining forwards to inside the 15 metre line on lineouts, until the ball is outside that 15 metre line….might be worth considering.

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