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IRB can shove the ELV’s


Eddie Jones has not changed his views on the ELV’s, and apart from only one law, he reckons they IRB can shove them.


Known in rugby circles for calling a spade a spade, Saracens boss Eddie Jones looks ahead to the International Rugby Board’s final decision on the Experimental Law Variations, and feels there is only one that’s worth keeping.

2009 has been marked as a special year for rugby lovers, mainly due to the advent of the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa which kicks off its’ first Test against the world champs in June.

But former Wallaby coach Eddie Jones believes the pivotal moment this year will arrive earlier that month, when the IRB makes its final decision on the ELV’s which have divided opinion around the world since their inception last year.

And as expected, the outspoken Aussie had some colourful advice, which should make the IRB officials’ task a little easier.

“The only law worth keeping is the one preventing a defender from kicking out on the full when the ball has been passed back into the 22 – a measure that rewards positive, intelligent, attacking rugby and denies the team under pressure a ‘get out of jail free’ card,” Jones wrote in his column for The Independent.

“The rest can go take a hike as far as I’m concerned, because they fall so far short of what they set out to achieve.”

Referees’ stricter application of the laws at the breakdown has certainly seen an improvement in the control of rugby’s single biggest problem area – although Jones feels the pressure on referees to make the right calls at such a complex phase of the game makes it inevitable that certain misdemeanors still get unnoticed, namely players going offsides.

Jones is thus another who strongly advocates the concept of a ‘second referee’.

“This [a second referee] would make a massive difference in freeing up the game – a far greater difference, I’d suggest, than any of the ELVs currently being trialled,” Jones said.

“Many people welcomed the introduction of the five-metre rule at the scrum, but in reality, it has brought very little value to the attacking side.

“A concerted effort to implement the offside rule would be transformative by comparison, and I’d love to see the idea put into practice.”