The campaign for REAL rugby


RuggaWorld reader, Vinnie, is so incensed by the proposed law changes currently under trial that he has put pen to paper to air his concerns. What are your views?

It was with great distress that I yesterday read about the proposed changes to be made to the laws of rugby.

Please allow me to paraphrase and provide a brief summation for the sake of those who have not had the opportunity to read about said changes.

In essence what this is about is two meddlers trying to re-invent and bastardise the game we currently love and know as rugby union into something that more resembles rugby league.

These two meddlesome administrators, being Rod McQueen and Paddy O’Brien, not content with the tremendous success of rugby, have got together a group of ex-players, ex-coaches and ex-somethingelse’ under the guise of making rugby more marketable and more free-flowing.

Their changes, inter-alia, entail the following:

– at a scrum, the defending backline must be 5m behind the hindmost foot.

– anyone can play the ball at the breakdown, as long as they are on their feet and entered the ruck or maul from the hindmost foot.

– if the ball is unplayable at the breakdown, the team that didn’t take the ball in receives a free kick.

– defending players can pull down a maul.

– the ball is deemed kicked out on the full if it’s been passed back into the 22m line.

– a quick throw-in can be thrown anywhere except forward.

– neither team determines numbers in the lineout and there is no maximum number, only a minimum of two players per team.

Now , without going into too much detail and discussing every prospective change I will summarise the gist of all of them together: They are designed to make rugby more like league and basically make it a backs-dominated game and is designed to negate the current strengths of tall gangly locks and the round tubby hardmen being the prop forwards.

Little surprise that this idea has gained backing from the likes of Eddie Jones and co in the Ozzie camp. With their powder-puff forwards and lack of true hard men it makes perfect sense.

I think its absolute crap. The game of rugby has changed so much just in the last ten years and I’ll be damned if I let it get bastardised to the point where there is little difference between league and union.

Union is one of the few sports left in the world where you actually require a brain in order to follow it.

With its plethora of rules you’re either a fan or you’re not. There is very little middle ground there and quite frankly I enjoy all the rules. I enjoy the complexity and I enjoy knowing that you can distinguish between a true fan and a part-time fan fairly quickly simply by discussing the game. You very quickly ascertian if somebody knows what they are tlakign about or not.
It makes rugby what it is.

There are enough sports in the world today that cater for the less intellectual fan who just wants to go out, paint his face, get liquored and hurl abuse at all and sundry while still being able to follow the game.

You have basketball, you have roundball, Ozzie rules, handball, tennis. There are so many games that are dumbed down to such a degree that the average Joe in the street can understand whats going on on the grass square between the stands wihtout any problem.

The world definitely doesn’t need another dumbed down sport for part-time spectators that are either too disinterested or too stupid to learn the rules.

And personally, I’d rather watch the game with the players we have now than watch the game with 15 Phil Waugh clones in every position.

Already the game has been unashamedly altered. Props these days need to feel themselves up before engaging, tacklers need to roll away, the ruck has become a joke with players able to lay all over the ball and get away with it because rucking has now effectively been outlawed due to safety concerns. My word, rugby is becoming soft! And we are allowing it to get this way but not voicing our concerns when so-called experts are allowed to simply change the rules because they feel it will make the game more “entertaining”.

Well you know what – I think the game is plenty entertaining and I don’t support opening the game up. What next? Taking Eddie Jones seriously when he talks about removing 2 players form the field to free up field space? Maybe outlawing rucks? Thats pretty much what they are advocating above! Think about it, you’re allowed to put your hands in a ruck and if the ball doesnt come out of a ruck the opposing team gets a free-kick. That is virtually league!

– You can pull a maul down. So no need for chunky props to drive the maul then.

– You can throw in a line-out any way you like – no need for locks then.

Well then we may as well ditch union as a code and move straight to league. Maybe just go all American on it, make it a spectacle and call it the World Series.

We’d have players switching codes at will becuase the game was so close – It’ll be like WWE and RAW and just as farcical.

I don’t know about you guys, and girls, but I grew up watching, learning and playing rugby as it should be played. Slowly but surely it has changed to a point where its become almost unrecognisable.

All this in the supposed quest to market the game and make it more entertaining. Therefore the apparent need to simplify the rules and make it more free-flowing.

But you know what, I enjoy the stoppages, the scrums, the contests in the front row, the line-outs, the rucks, the mauls, the stoppages. I like watching a tight game where all the forwards do all day is maul up and down the park. I also enjoy following that up with a more running game.

I love Rugby Union. That was the choice I made long time ago and I didn’t choose league. Because I didn’t like it.

And now some poncy Ozzie is trying to take the game I love and trying to take my game and change it more into league.

I blame Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp for this. For convincing the world, but mostly Australia, that somehow running rugby is the pinnacle of entertainment. All in the name of ratings and growing the ratings around the world.

I reckon enough is enough and its time somebody stood up to these clowns and took back our game. The way its meant to be played. With the little scrumhalves, the short round guys in the front and the ridiculously proportioned beasts who pluck the balls out of the air.

But most of all we need to stop these guys changing the rules, from changing the very essence of the game we love.

And most of all, to rather move the game away from League than towards it.

To Rod McQueen, if you don’t like the game as it is played now, why not spend the rest of your days following a sport you obviously do like, league. If I didn’t like the way rugby is currently played I wouldn’t watch it but rather follow another sport. But I like it just the way it is and so do millions of fans around the world.

You don’t see them enlarging tennis rackets or changing the length of a cricket pitch.
Golf is still played over 4 days with 18 holes a day.

Why change something that works?

If you dont like the way this is going make your voice heard.

Websites like this represent the rugby-watching community and its about time we got what we want instead of simply accepting all this crap that is thrown at us.


Facebook Comments


  1. Yeah Vinnie
    Well said

    Paddy ‘O Brian seems to suffereing from an early onset of God disease that he’s taken off the field with him
    Rod McQueen played in a time when the Aussies couldn’t get anywhere because of their tiny forwards, Got his ass fired.
    Now the Australians are struggling with forwards again.
    So there’s a few little things there that need to be said as regards agendas.
    Obviously they’re unhappy to see stadiums like Twickenham and Jade and Ellis Park filled to capacity with fans for the test matches.
    This means rugby isn’t marketable.
    At this stage these rule changes take the game to the ridiclous.
    Apparently they test play them at Maties first to see if they work.
    Here’s hoping they don’t.

  2. “The world definitely doesn’t need another dumbed down sport for part-time spectators that are either too disinterested or too stupid to learn the rules.”- Amen.

    Vinnie, why do they want to change the entire game?

  3. Hi guys,

    My boet is playing rugby at Stellies at the moment with the new rules. He says that they are a joke.

    The biggest problem is the rule that says any player can use hands in the ruck. Becaus eof this it becomes very risky to try and run the ball with you backline as the chances are 50/50 that you will lose the ball if the player gets tackled as your forwards are far away.

    He says that it has become a game totally focussed on kicking for field position as neither teams are willing to risk free kicks being given against them by running the ball.

    He also says that lineouts have become a bit of a joke with the defending team only using 2 players in the lineout and the rest of the team lining up in a defensive line, effectively killing all attacking space.

    If the attacking lineout players attempt to maul the 2 defending players simply collapse the maul whereupon the flankers then generally try and steal the ball in the ruck that follows.

    The refs are apparently also battling to police rucks as it basically becomes a free for all.

  4. Genl Juba

    The irony is that if rucks become a free for all, we actually go back to the game we had a generation ago. The more risk there is of losing the ball in a ruck, the less likely teams are to run and pass the ball.

    That is not necessarily a bad thing. A good tactical kicking flyhalf is a joy to watch, and if rucks are a lottery/contest, it means more forwards committing to them, and more space for small, pacy inside backs like we used to have.

    So that law doesn’t necessarily turn rugby union into league.

    What does turn it into league is the emasculation of the scrum and lineout.

    It’s idiotic. We have pretty much sorted out the lineout in the last few years, so there is no need at all to fix that. The scrum is a mess and needs fixing: what the answer is I don’t know, but they are barking up the wrong tree with the recent changes, or rather, the way it is being reffed.

    As for all these new short arm penalties – complete joke.

  5. Posti,

    Yes, but now couple that with the new no rucking law and it becoms a joke. Defenders lying all over the ball with both sides trying to rip the ball.

    Freakin joke.

  6. Generaal

    The only ruck laws they need are the following:

    – nowhere near the head or groin
    – it has to be rucking (ie not stomping or kicking)
    – it has to be in the broad vicinity of the ball (ie if he’s directly on top of the ball, ruck him to your heart’s content)

  7. There are enough sports in the world today that cater for the less intellectual fan who just wants to go out, paint his face, get liquored and hurl abuse at all and sundry while still being able to follow the game.

    Sounds a bit like Loftus to me, Vinnie.
    But you’re quite right. The only rule change I would support, though, is the one affecting the rolling maul. I’d implement it differently though by ruling that once the initial ball carrier releases the ball to another player the maul is over and the opposing side can attack the ball player directly.

  8. Vinnie

    Excellent read.

    You really got me thinking – in my books that equals an excellent read.

    Well done.

    Thinking about it, I could not wonder ‘how’ we would define ‘real rugby’ or for want of a better word ‘pure rugby’, maybe even ‘true rugby’.

    It is easy to ‘shoot down’ options – I do that very well ‘naturally’.

    It is the real challenge of a ‘real man’ to provide effective and efficient options.

    Looking forward to maybe a debate on ‘HOW’ ‘pure rugby’ shopuld look like.

    Remember if we the ‘supporters’ don’t say what we want – the ‘adminstrators’ put in place what they ‘perceive’ we the supporters want.

    Are you willing to let that happen?

    And it we only shoot down their ‘options’ without giving functionable alternative options – nobody listen to us in any case.

    Looking forward to what ‘pure rugby’ should look like.

  9. Good stuff Vinnie.

    Methinks that if rugby union had the exact same appeal & following as league has in Australia, Messrs McQueen & O’Brien would not say a peep…

    The proposed changes seem to pander to a free for all, & limited sustained attcking phases.

  10. I’m surprised.

    Would have thought Stormers supporters would have liked the changes.

    Suit their shortcomings vs the Bulls, Tahs and Fish.

  11. As a stormers supporter I would rather have the Stormers develope some props in the mold of Os, Bands, CJ… Like the guys we use to have in Toks etc.