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Jones warns SA rugby teams

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South African rugby on Saturday night got a warning from former Australian coach Eddie Jones – according to him, rugby’s new laws, currently being trialled in the Super 14, are set up to benefit New Zealand.

Peter Bills writes for IOL that the format now under scrutiny is likely to be further trialled in the northern hemisphere starting this September.

“They set it up for New Zealand to become even stronger in the game,” Jones claimed.

“They have dominated rugby for the last seven years despite not winning the big tournament, the World Cup. But under the new laws they will be even tougher to beat. Countries like South Africa and Australia are going to have to accept that.”

Jones fears the potential power and quality of the New Zealanders because he insists they have the best combination of individual power, speed, athleticism and ball-carrying ability of any country.

“It makes them a very dangerous side. There is no doubt in my mind that these laws will therefore help New Zealand the most. Look how naturally the players of teams like the Crusaders and Blues have adapted to them. It looks like they have been playing under them all their lives. The South African and Australian players don’t give that impression.

“In most of the New Zealand teams, about 12 of the 15 players are really good ball carriers and, under these rules, that sets it up for them to dominate.”

Jones, who will take over as Director of Rugby at London club Saracens when Alan Gaffney quits at the end of this season, said he likes certain aspects of the new laws. “Not being able to kick out on the full if you pass back into your 22 is eminently sensible.

“There is still a question mark over the breakdown because sides are deliberately giving away free kicks. Therefore, I believe you still need the facility of conceding three points through a full penalty for such offences.

“The other thing is that if teams are very good defensively, as they are these days, it will be very hard to score against them. The higher the level you get in the game the harder it is to score because most teams have 11 to 12 very good defenders. At Test level, you can make that 15.”

One solution, Jones agreed, was for the IRB to endorse a major crackdown by referees on those deliberately cheating when defending difficult positions. “The IRB must endorse referees who get people off the field into the sin bin. If a side ends up with three guys from one team in the bin, fair enough; teams would soon learn the lesson.

“But if referees did that, and I think they should, the IRB would have to back them 100 percent That is the reality because it would solve it. But you need strong leadership at the top to make that work and do we have that in the game?”

He likes the extra 5 metres for backs at scrum time but says it again comes down to tough refereeing sanctions against players not binding properly. “If they are not binding correctly, that negates so much of the intention behind the law. And if a referee does enforce that strictly and he’s already sent an opposing forward to the bin, especially a flanker, then the team that has transgressed will really pay for it. But it comes down to referees being ultra strict.”

He accepts the breakdown will always be something of a mess as long as it remains a contest for the ball. “If you want just a fast game, remove the contest element from the breakdown. But personally I would not do that. We still need a contest there in my view.”

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22 COMMENTS

  1. They tried but NZ did not budge and that is why we still have contested scrums. As soon as that is gone we will have league. The bloody kiwis have been useless at line-out time and thus we have 20+% less LO’s under the ELVS.
    Who are the strongest LO teams?? SA & AUS (With saffa lock of course!)

  2. JT,

    Well the Aussie teams are not looking shabby come scrum time. The Reds even put one or two over the Bulls.

  3. Comment by Donner — March 16, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    Internationaly they are still kak if the right referee is on and the other team is concentrating!

  4. :em92:

    Internationaly they are still kak if the right referee is on and the other team is concentrating!

    Comment by JT — March 16, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

    That is starting to bug me big time. The ref is there to facilitate/police not influence the game. Why are referees starting to influence games? :evil:

  5. Comment by Donner — March 16, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

    When have they stopped?? They ALWAYS influenced the game that is why there are referee analysts who analyse the referees and the game tactics for a certain team and ceratin ref is relayed to the coach to prepare his teams for “them”.
    I helped out a few times and saw the rsults for myself.

  6. Sounds a bit like a conspiracy
    theory, not? AB’s cooking up new
    laws to suit them?

    Look, with the whole of the Pacific
    Islands too choose from, they will
    always have the better teams.

    Maybe SA should dig deeper into the
    countries around us. Currently the
    three best black players are not
    born Saffas: Mujati, Beast, Chavhanga.

    Maybe they are just prepared to work
    harder instead of relying on quotas to
    have them selected.

  7. Comment by Boertjie — March 16, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

    With the talent in SA I am confident that we can master the ELVS too! Beat them at their own game but it takes a while for SA to change…

  8. Maybe SA should dig deeper into the
    countries around us. Currently the
    three best black players are not
    born Saffas: Mujati, Beast, Chavhanga.

    ….and we would not even have to have to travel very far..

    I have seen a couple of very BIG blokes selling stuff at the robots…and I bet you, they are all from the – what SA tourism would call, the extra millions of tourist who have started visiting our beautifull country since 1994, who did not use airtransport or boats….

  9. One of the things that amuses me is that there is so much spin when it comes to the ELV’s, there is definitely a couple of myths being thrown out with little factual evidence but mainly emotional bias being thrown out.

    Myth 1: The ELV’s make the game more like league

    If people want to create a negative impression they say it is like league, without really basing it on any fact except that people have an emotional response of the negative nature against league.

    The fundamental difference between Rugby union and league is over contesting possession. League, American Football have it so contestation whilst there in a small way favours the side with possession, in return they have a limited number of plays to use the ball. Rugby Union features the ball being contested more fiercely. The new ELV’s do not change the contestation of possession, in fact probably will result in more turnover ball, ergo ELV’s do not make the game more like league.

    Myth 2: The ELV’s are going to mean certain body types cant play the game

    The ELV’s do speed up the game and gives teams more space, however scrummaging is definitely not any less important than it was before because set piece possession and good quality ball from a solid scrum is of even more benefit under the new rules. However you certainly dont want unfit players, although that has always been the case. Player careers may become shorter as a consequence, however I also feel that has been happening in recent times, especially with regard to loose forwards.

    South Africa in the S14/ S12 are generally slow starters. Apart from last year there really hasnt been much difference in performance from this year compared to others. The slow start is in part to a WC hangover, which as a Kiwi I would be happy to be having, in part to the loss of a lot of leadership and in part to incomplete reconditioning, that will come right. And as has been said many a time, it is a long competition which is very hard to maintain form, being the best conditioned team in week 1 is not so important as being in good condition at the end of the competition, providing you are still in contention.

    With regard to leadership, it appears to me that some of the SA teams are very dependent on a few key people, and perhaps that this should be expanded upon. Although the NZ teams lost a lot of people not many of them were the hard ones (from a leadership perspective) to replace apart from the Highlanders, and look where they are.

    By the way I dont see any conspiracy regarding the rules being driven by NZ, if anyone is driving them it is Australia, not to make the game more like league but to make it more entertaining so they can compete better with League, soccer and Aussie rules for there slice of the sporting revenue pie. NZ might not win WC’s but I dont think that has anything to do with the rules, however whether we play with the ELV’s or under the old rules they will still be competitive.

  10. interesting take BBA and possibly true.

    There is one thing that i would like to say about myths 1 and 2 tho.

    For myth 2, it would seem the game is faster and therefore tends to suit fitter enfurance players rather then say a power prop. Also with the ball not being in touch as often, the lineout becomes less of an attacking platform, which means less of an emphasis on the specilialist lineout giant. Thus i think there is a valid opposing viewpoint that sees these tight 5 bodyforms becoming more homogenous in having fitter players able to compete at the all-important breakdown for 50 mins – hence the argument for the shift away from much of the traditionally distinctive union body shapes.

    For myth 1, i think the leaguse analogy is used cos some feel the game is played with more ball in play and high intensity, which may not be negative, but its perhaps different from the explosive attacking stop-start nature of union as compared to league. in that respect NFL football being the ultimate explosive stop-start form. Perhaps this is cos under the old law the scrum and lineout pulled many players into the setpiece creating more space for the 7 backs outwide. Whereas, now the the scrum and lineout is perhaps becoming overshadowed by the all-important breakdown, which is also being blown alot quicker these days, so that if you take it up you are likely to get it back (or recycle it quickly), not wholly different from the league restart. also, the sustained intensity with this quickly recycled ball means there are a few forwards loitering in the defensive lines creating a league-type defensive spread accross the width of the field (less space).

    imo there are some aspects of the ELVs which seem good tho (5m scrum rule), and in any event they will suit some of the SA teams as JW said, specifically the stormers and rassie erasmus who will exploit them fully. in Burger, Watson, Brits and Louw they are all-over it. what they dont have is the power to match the crusaders pack that have both. Crusaders v Sharks, cant wait.

  11. IMO Myth 1 does not hold any water; The contest at scrum and on the floor is still there.

    HOWEVER: The ELVS were brought in to clear up the contest on the floor BUT it has become more of a free-for-all IMO!

    Myth 2: The only body type that will perhaps dwindle is the tall lock! with much less LO’s under the ELV’s the tall lock is needed 20%+ less than before!

  12. I don’t think the ELV’s were brought in to “sort out? the ball on the ground entirely. This is where the competition is at the fiercest and the dark arts are in full force. I think in part what they aimed to do is make it easier on the ref, by making the penalties less severe (free kicks as opposed to penalty kicks) so that referee interpretation has less effect on deciding games.

    Yes teams may cheat more at rucks and there will be more turnovers. However I like the Jake White interpretation (when talking about Schalk vs Luke) implying let the meanest mother come out with the ball.

    The “beanpole? is definitely under threat, although I think Creatine has placed the “beanpole? into the annals of history more than anything else. Amongst professional rugby teams there aren’t many small locks, some are taller than others but in terms of body shape they all tend to be powerfully built, once fully matured.

    Certainly I think two of the rules are keepers for sure (the passing back into the 22 and the 5m back at scrum time). The jury is still out on the ruck and maul infringements being reduced to the free kick. I prefer the quicker calls at ruck and maul time, however more time will be needed. At the end of the day the NH dont like them because firstly it came from the southern hemisphere, secondly it involves change and thirdly they are concerned that it may not favour there style of play.

  13. BBA
    I’ve only noticed you on the
    site today. I gathered you are
    a Kiwi.
    Anyway, good to see you around –
    please visit more often!

  14. Comment by BBA — March 16, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

    I would drop the 22m law that has come with the ELVS. I like the LO’s and want to see more and not less. LO’s are dinamic and eye catching especially to people who come to rugby for the first time. Scrum do not impress them at the start of watching rugby but after a game or to they become as much as a focus…
    This is from my experience in Austria so take from it what you will.

    I like the FK idea because it makes the game faster and the 50/50 calls by the ref is not game changing as it was before. However I think it will be so much easier if hands in the ruck is allowed! It is done anyway at the moment so why not just allow it!? Referee should then only be worried about players on the ground holding on or going off their feet and be severe with that!.

  15. However I think it will be so much easier if hands in the ruck is allowed!
    ==============
    :em24:

  16. You still up Boertjie??
    What I do not want to see is the bringing down the maul law coming in…
    I like my LO’s and I LOVE my mauls!!

  17. Been on the internet – nice
    copy. Bulls will probably play
    Habana at 15, drop Vuilgat Nel
    and play Steyn and Meisiekind –
    says the scribe.

  18. This is all so farking obvious –
    Ludicrous should let the press
    select his team:

    “Voorlangs kan die jong agtsteman Dewald Potgieter nie langer uit die beginspan gehou word nie. Die Bulls was teen die Reds weer baie kwesbaar by die afbreekpunte, wat Potgieter se vaart en voorgevoel ’n moet teen die Chiefs maak.

    “Om dieselfde rede sal Ludeke ook aan Deon Stegmann se baljagvaardighede moet voorkeur gee, wat Wikus van Heerden die enigste oorblywende lid van die lostrio teen die Reds sal maak.

    “Selfs al het Wilhelm Steenkamp nie ’n besering teen die Reds opgedoen nie, moet Ludeke vir Danie Rossouw op slot plek maak. Hy word op flank gemors.

  19. Thanks for the welcome Boertje, been on for a mighty 3 days now, and yes I am a Kiwi from Crusader country.

    I think there does need to be more pressure placed on players to kick well. I like the cant kick the ball out on the fall if passed the ball back. Nothing to stop players kicking out, they just have to do it more skillfully.

    Probably having a snooty sideswip at our English brethren who kick the ball out first (well probably second and third) and think about doing something with it as an afterthought.

  20. Boertjie old Chap,

    You know as well as I know, that NZ does NOT poach ANY players from the Islands. As I’ve said so many times before, the Polynesians are no better than Japanese at playing rugby in the Islands.

    However, in New Zealand, the Polynesians, that is New Zealand citizens are taught to play rugby at junior school and High School, hence they enter the open market with exactly the same training as the NZ kids.

    Now behave yourself, and don’t keep trying to pull the wool over dumb peoples eyes,

    Patrick.

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