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Habana: ELVs undermine the very essence of rugby


Bulls wing Bryan Habana has passed a damning judgment on the Experimental Law Variations, echoing sentiments expressed by his captain, Fourie du Preez, after their Super 14 win over the Stormers on Saturday.

Reports RugbyFanz

“There’s no stop-start, the essence of what rugby is, anymore,? Habana told reporters at the Laureus World Sports Awards, where the Springboks were nominated for the Team of the Year award. “If guys wanted to play rugby league, they’d go out and play rugby league.

“The essence of what rugby is about is something that I don’t think any player or any supporter wants to see lost. There’s something special about rugby. Your forwards pride themselves on the scrum and the line-out and your backs pride themselves on that contest against the opposition,? Habana said.

Habana said the quicker game would result in less line-outs, less scrums and ultimately less structure – something of a free-for-all, he commented. “The backs are running against the forwards now and the forwards are running against the backs, so it’s a little bit of a mix-up at the moment,” he said.

Too much like Sevens

Habana’s captain, Du Preez, wasn’t happy with the new laws either. “I found the new ELVs less enjoyable, because it was too much like Sevens rugby. I didn’t enjoy watching it either. There is too much flinging the ball around,” the Bulls and Springbok scrum-half said on Saturday.

The Bulls captain, who took over the captaincy of the Super 14 champions this year after Victor Matfield left to play in France, credited his side’s second-half 16-9 comeback victory to former coach Heyneke Meyer, praising current coach Frans Ludeke for continuing his predecessor’s legacy.

“The guys showed character out there, something we learnt from the days of Heyneke Meyer here at the Bulls,” Du Preez said. “But I must also give credit to Frans for continuing in the same vein as Heyneke and instilling the same character in this team.”

Du Preez’s Stormers counterpart, Jean de Villiers, for his part, said he had enjoyed the new rules. “We adapted nicely, while I think [the Bulls] struggled more with them, but as Rassie said the rucks were too slow, which prevented running rugby.”

Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus commented before that he liked the new laws, “but not when the ball gets slowed at the breakdown, because it becomes very difficult to spread the ball to the wings.”

A disappointed Erasmus said that not enough infringements at the breakdown had been penalised and this had caused the game to slow down, thus halting the Stormers’ free-flowing game plan.

“If a ruck is formed and the ball is not released within a few seconds, a free kick should always be given to one of the two teams, depending on the referee’s interpretation.” Erasmus said. “This will encourage teams not to slow the ball down and will allow quicker ball, which is the main objective of the ELVs.

“If the ball is in a ruck and doesn’t come out immediately there should be a free kick. There should be about 25 free kicks in a game and about 10 or 11 cynical penalties.”

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  1. “If guys wanted to play rugby league, they’d go out and play rugby league.

    Bryan Habana

    World Rugby Player of the Year.

    In a nutshell, I couldn’t agree more.

  2. I accept that I’m an old fart tradionalist.

    If I had my way, we’d REGRESS not progress.

    I don’t need the “excitement”, I loved rugby for the chess nature it had, I’ll see your burly forwards for my speedy back three.


    I’ll see your lanky locks for my powerhouse front three.

    Now, to please an essentially Australian audience, we must all adapt towards league and AFL.

    On this I’m with Stephen Jones 100%, it’s crap.

    We don’t “need” to grow rugby, commercially it can survive staying the way it is.

    Perhaps it will not thrive but it will survive because I’ve been on “rugby trains” from Twickenham and Stade and those “real” rugby fans seek no changes.

    The changes are driven from the board room types who constantly have to justify the bottom line, a bottom line they themselves imposed.

  3. What Seffricans should understand is that there were two different groups playing under the new rules. The Two NZ games I watched were very good games…..they were structured towards the new style of play, and whilst the rugby was helter-skelker to a large degree, it was able to be followed. The two and a half games I watched in SA were a complete shambles from go to wo because the SA teams appeared to have done exactly NOTHING in preparing for this new game.

    Both NZ games yeilded 4 tries….very good tries also. I’m not saying for one minute this is the be all and end all, it has to improve considerably, but NZ and OZ are wel ahead of SA simply because they sat down and worked the thing out. On the other hand, SA sat on their fat arses, whinged, and did NOTHING by way of planning.

    SA has been negative right from the word go and until they get over their parochial mind-set, they will be in for a few wallopings. Perhaps you should rush a couple of your senior execs over to NZ for a few days and get a grasp on what Austalasia has done and replicate it in SA.

    Meanwhile stop your bleating, and breast beating, and do SOMETHING yourselves about getting up to pace,


  4. Good point Patrick.
    The Bulls/Saders game next week and the Sharks/Blues game in week 4 will show if you are correct or not.

  5. Meanwhile stop your bleating, and breast beating, and do SOMETHING yourselves about getting up to pace,

    Promise we will as soon as you reciprocate come RWC year. We’re getting tired of the “early exits”. :roll:

  6. yeah tend to agree, the austalasian teams have massive rugby league talent the sport is far bigger than union, so these rules are right up their street. in contrast we have blokes like CJ who are explosive as all hell, but look to be ill-suited to the marathon game being pressed.

  7. Were I a coach(thankfully am not)
    But if I were, and these laws are made official-I would recruit cross-country runners to fill out the majority of the squad. We would simply quick-restart traditionally made up teams into the ground. I am being a bit tongue and cheek-but not by much.

    I have always hated the quick restart-especially when it leads to a score. It just seems cheap.

    These new laws are going to make the game a spaz fest of busy sloppy quick starts.

    For the life of me I could never understand how “all shapes and sizes” will be accounted for with these new laws. Just because a team can run up massive points on another with quick restarts and benefit from dead legs…at least to me does not make it entertaining.

    One thing I did’nt understand though in watching the Bulls game this wknd. was when a free kick was awarded why the Bulls did not just pitch a few back to Hougarrd for the drop goal?

    It’s probably better they did’nt. If that catches on th NZ/Aus contingent will probably disallow drop goals or turn them into 1 pointers for an ELV edit post season.

  8. Americano
    … was when a free kick was awarded why the Bulls did not just pitch a few back to Hougarrd for the drop goal.
    It was explained by PA that this is
    against the laws – there has to be
    another phase before he can drop kick.

  9. The ads on my screen really suck!
    Comment by fyndraai —
    Those on my screen are very silly too.
    Whose idea was this?

  10. Evening guys.

    redj, you getting nervous over the CB story? Heard about it, but don’t know the detail.

  11. Donner’s been in great jostling spirit all day.

    Been as sharp as minora blade.

    Thats always a good sign when the Stormers have just been klapped by the Bulls, at home nogal.

  12. Tuks just now pulled a bunny out of the hat – to level with Maties 31 – 31

    At one stage it was 31 – 5 (I am not 100% sure)

    Parents of schoolboy I coached walked into pub and I “lost” the last 15 minutes of the game.

  13. We, the BULLS, have major problems this coming weekend! But sh!t guys let me get back to preparing this massive members list for publishing. I am so proud of all of you! Now we will make a difference!!!

  14. Thats always a good sign when the Stormers have just been klapped by the Bulls, at home nogal.

    Comment by redj — February 18, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

    I would hardly call it a klap. Maybe a accidental shove instigated by a whistle wielding ninkonpoop. ;grin:

  15. Die Maties Tuks game was baie beter as enige iets wat ons die naweek gesien het.

    Comment by The Brand — February 18, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

    Het dit gemis. Moes gou die paspoorte gaan afhaal. MET DIE VISA IN.

  16. Ek kan nog steeds nie glo die spelers begin nou eers kerm oor die reels nie. Hulle het dan al die goed in die opwarmings games gehad. :roll:

  17. Ek wonder hoe voel die Bulls werklik? Is dit dalk dat hulle nie soveel selfvertroue het na DAAI drie nie?

  18. Comment by AB Rugby Supporters Voice — February 18, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

    Jy moet die hele dag se goed lees. Ek mors met julle.

    Ek weet die Stormers moes verloor. Hulle het swak gespeel. Dit is nie goeie nuus vir die Bulle nie. Hulle leef nou onder ‘n illusie.

  19. I would hardly call it a klap. Maybe a accidental shove instigated by a whistle wielding ninkonpoop. ;grin:
    Comment by Donner — February 18, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

    Jis redj lees amper so vinnig as wat Wynand Olivier pass.
    Comment by Donner — February 18, 2008 @ 9:02 pm

    Hehe Donner. Go pick on someone else.

  20. Where does this “the ball was kicked out of Ricky’s hands” come from anyway?
    Not visible on TV.
    It is as mysterious as Matfield’s punch on BJ that time.

  21. Comment by redj — February 18, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

    Ek wil, maar Grootblousmile en AB wil nie speel nie. Hulle is seker maar verlig oor die gelukkie.

  22. I understand the need for ads, but the ads they are dishing up really suck.
    Click here to win a million$
    Pictures of Eminem’s tatood arm.
    Meet single women.
    Meet gay men.
    Flashing, hopping, moving.
    Promps me to use bad words like fokkof.

  23. Comment by fyndraai — February 18, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

    Ja but BJ probably deserved it.

    (redj you are of the hook. )

  24. fyndraai,

    It is supposed to be sports related ads. Something went wrong, but we are on to it.

    Actually the ads are linked to regions. So if you stay in a region known to be gay dominated, you get that type of ads.

  25. redj,

    I am reading through the Carte Blance interview now.

    I would have canned myself if I saw the youth telling the guy he wanted to steal their camera.

  26. There are lots of gay men in Atlanta yes. Not sure how many plays rugby though.

    I guess the market for rugby stuff in the US is so small they just put in any old crap.

    When I used to watch the games on TV, 90% of the adds were for natural male enhancement.
    “This is Bob. Since using enerex he is living Large and stepping tall. He has a new Wood and a very Happy Missus at home.”

  27. Donner that insert was tense.

    20 years younger no way I would have hung around.

    jT’s been very quite today.

  28. redj,

    Quite interesting in what the guy staying Soweto. He is not the only one that feels that way.

    Do not sell yourself short. I am not trying to recruit. Just keep your options open.

  29. redj,

    Nope. Waiting for the house to sell. That might be some time. Luckily I have till November to enter.

  30. Comment by redj — February 18, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

    No if the computer wins you loose all your balls.

  31. In the US you can always deduce the intended audience of a TV program from the ads:

    Chick shows: “Use Vibrocream for those pesky yeast infections”

    Reality shows: “Nobody can cure genital herpes… but herpostop will hide it from your partner.”

    Daytime TV: “Bump your toe recently?. Call 1800 Sleazy Lawyer.”

    and then off course there is the ED pills for the middle age men watching sports on weekends.

  32. It was explained by PA that this is
    against the laws – there has to be
    another phase before he can drop kick.
    Comment by Boertjie — February 18, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

    Thanks Boertjie.
    That would explain it.

Comments are closed.