Apply new breakdown laws and be damned
AFTER LAST week's extra-ordinary 72-65 scoreline in the Super 14, the new breakdown interpretations are being tweaked just TWO weeks into the competition.
With fading fetcher supremo Phil Waugh back-tracking on his pre-season enthusiasm for the initial interpretation, it may seem like the vaguest sense of panic is creeping into lawmaking down south. We disagree.
Chiefs forwards coach Craig Stevenson, whose side emerged victorious from the orgasmic 18-try points-fest against the Lions, confirmed an email had been sent out to teams by Sanzar referees boss Lyndon Bray that would give defending teams more rights in the tackle area.
Although the initial tackler will still be vigorously ruled, subsequent arrivals will apparently be accorded more leniency.
Rugby isn't basketball, but there has to be a balance between the oft-times pyjama rugby of Super 14 and the snorefests that predominate the Premiership and Top 14. We know what we prefer.
Still, it seems to us that during the opening two rounds, the referees were merely applying the letter of the law, ordering both tackler and tackled player to peremptorily release man and ball.
Would that the same may happen in the northern hemisphere, where refereeing inconsistency remains a bugbear, with interpretations varying from match to match.
As Aussie coach Robbie Deans says, players will be encouraged to hit rucks higher, thus staying on their feet.
Overall, possession will be rewarded as sides won't kick as much, knowing the defences haven't an unfair advantage.
Now it's up to this hemisphere to follow suit.
Interpretation of the laws is supposed to be global -- so, go on lads, apply them -- and damn the consequences. -- DK