The five-second rule has really sped up the matches, but we need more changes.
Johnnoo on The Roar
The new lineout rules have also been a hit.
Overall they indicate a new direction in taking rugby forward, making it a faster, more running game. And ultimately a game with more action, more skill and a better overall product.
However, I would like to see two more new rules trialled. Firstly, the mark on the full rule being extended to anywhere on the field.
Alternatively, if you mark the ball on the full, you go back to where the kicker kicked the ball, and a penalty given to the team who took the mark. However if it’s in your own 22-metre line, you don’t go back to where the kicker kicked it and a mark is called, as is now.
Before you head to the comments and call the idea crazy, hear me out.
Basically, it’s called rewarding positive play, and punishing negative play and poor skill levels if your team is on the back foot.
For example, if you’re crammed in your own 22 zone, you can’t just do a typical halfback box kick, or a high ball then all charge in in an attempt to pressure the fullback or winger who takes the high ball and knowing there is a good chance he or she may drop the ball, due to being nervous and intimidated.
As players are humans, not robots, they may drop the ball through fear. This rewards the team on the back foot, not the other way around.
Under my rule, if you choose to play aerial Ping-Pong you get punished. The first rule would see a mark called, and play on within three to five seconds after mark called and opposition defence has to wait for you to re-align and set. Or you can just play on straight away, the option is yours.
If the other team drops the ball, the kicking team obviously gets rewarded, as the ball will be knocked on, and a scrum given to you.
Or a direct penalty where the kicker kicked the ball from on the pitch.
This two rule change really improves the game. It really punish the aerial Ping-Pong five-eighths in world rugby and would result in less aerial Ping-Pong.
Furthermore, it improves the player welfare as it gives players who catches the ball on full more protection. No longer would they be cannon fodder and in a helpless position to defend themselves, and allow the other team to re-gain momentum
It would see the end of annoying halfback box kicks in mid-field to get out of jail and negative five-eighths. If you kick, you know it needs to be highly skilled, and away from fast fullbacks or wingers, because if they catch it, the ball goes back to where you kicked it from and you concede a penalty, unless the opposition team catches it in their own 22m.
I like the rule in Australian Rules football. In the AFL, if you take the mark from an opposition kick, you get a mark and rewarded three to five seconds to get on with it, or just play on. It rewards good tactical kicking but also punishes teams who kick badly, not the other way around.
Too many rugby games I have seen halves put up box kicks and midfield high bombs to get out of trouble when their side is losing momentum in a phase, and under pressure.
The result is they are rewarded, as they know a high ball will intimidate the opposition team, fullback and wingers catching it will result it in them being smashed, and the ball is dropped. That, to me, is unfair on the opposition team.
Why should they get punished when the other team’s forwards are playing badly?
On a player welfare issue too it is unfair and gives unfair self-confidence to the team in trouble.
I’d rather a team that gets rewarded who have skilled halves, Mark Ella types, not aimless unskilled box kicking, high ball types.
I disagree with the time out in basketball as it rewards failure when your team is in trouble. The same applies with kicking in rugby currently.
Make the team’s halves be skilful in both kicking and passing, not just kicking. With the mark on the full applying to all parts of a rugby pitch, not just 22 metre zone, this will mean if you kick, you really should be kicking in a meaningful way, and it will be well thought out kicks that take a lot of confidence and risk.
Rugby could be massively improved as a sport