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Maul will keep on rolling


Fears that the experimental laws may result in the disappearance of the rolling maul have been allayed by Marius Jonker, one of South Africa?s top rugby referees.

Stephen Nell writes for Die Burger that the experimental laws that were tried out in the Super 14 competition will also be applied in the Tri-Nations series, which starts with a Test between South Africa and New Zealand here on Saturday.

Additional changes have also been introduced. There will now be no limit to the number of players in the lineout and players may try to pull down a rolling maul.

Jonker feels it will be easier said than done to stop a rolling maul in that way.

The experimental laws now make it legal for any player who is part of a rolling maul to try to bring it down by grabbing hold of an opponent anywhere between his hips and his shoulders.

If it is done in any other way, it will still be an regarded as an offence.

“To stop a rolling maul legally is very difficult,” Jonker said here on Wednesday. He is in New Zealand to assist the Springboks with their interpretation of the laws before the Test on Saturday.

Driving play

“Few mauls were brought down during the Vodacom Cup matches,” he explained. “It is illegal to do so by tackling a player or by jumping on top of a maul.

“The maul will remain a way of attacking. To defend against a maul you still have to enter from your side of the field; not from the sides.”

The Springboks impressed with their driving play in wet conditions against Italy last month. And with rain forecast for Saturday, they will be out to build on that performance when they take on the All Blacks.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers wants his team to play a dynamic style of rugby, but the Test against Italy proved they were able to adapt to conditions.

The All Blacks did much the same against Ireland last month and won’t be out to move the ball to the wings at all costs if conditions are unfavourable.

Jonker says he is looking forward to seeing what the teams are going to do to capitalise from the experimental lineout laws.

The defending team will no longer be compelled to have the same number of players in the lineout as the team throwing in the ball.

“It will certainly make matters easier for the referees who already have so many things on which to concentrate,” Jonker said.

“This may bring about a revolution in the game because it presents the teams with so many more options.”

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  1. See Business Day article below. These guys are not very sharp, are they? Frans, I’ve never seen eight or nine players in a lineout, certainly none of the games you’ve been involved in as coach!

    Posted to the web on: 03 July 2008
    New lineout law unfair, says Ludeke
    Zeena Isaacs


    Rugby Correspondent

    ONE day after Springbok hooker and captain John Smit criticised the experimental law variations (ELVs) approved by the International Rugby Board, Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke highlighted the negative points of the new lineout law.

    This law states that teams may field an unlimited number of players in the lineouts.

    “Rugby should be a fair contest for all teams,? Ludeke said. “I think the new lineout law is the result of it being tough for referees to keep an eye on the numbers in the lineouts before, because teams always ended up with eight or even nine players in the lineout.?

    While Ludeke has been trying to familiarise his players with a bunch of new laws all year — some of the laws were implemented in the Super 14 — Smit will face a baptism of fire in Saturday’s opening Tri- Nations Test against New Zealand in Wellington, as he will be exposed to the new laws for the first time.

    Smit is one of the few Springboks who have played club rugby overseas under the old laws for the past few months, meaning they will be under more pressure than their team-mates in Saturday’s game.

    The other players are Springbok flyhalf Butch James, lock Victor Matfield and fullback Percy Montgomery.

    Commenting on the new rules on Monday, Smit was reported to have said: “They never tried to reinvent the wheel before, so why do it now?

    “There was nothing wrong with the old laws and you couldn’t find an empty seat in stadiums in France (while we played the old laws). I’ve seen the new ones at work and I’ve even spoken to Bismarck du Plessis and Schalk Brits (fellow Springbok hookers) about them. I’ve got the textbook, I just haven’t written the test yet.?

    Ludeke faced a tougher job than his counterparts before the Super 14, as the Bulls players reacted negatively to the ELVs.

    With two of the Bulls’ and Blue Bulls’ traditional strengths, the lineouts and rolling mauls, being weakened by the new ELVs, he too has difficulty accepting them.

    This lineout law was not in force in the Super 14 and there was no problem, but now the lineouts are different. This law has forced coaches to make changes in the vital set piece.

    “Your throw-ins have to be spot on and teams are forced to be more creative in the lineouts now,? said Ludeke. “Now your No8 and blindside flank also have to be lineout options.?

    The new lineout law, he said, also prevented the formation of mauls. “Driving is not as easy anymore because the opposition can have as many as nine to 13 players in the lineout … it is definitely a challenge to get the ball in the lineouts.?

    Another new experimental law being tested in the Currie Cup is the use of the television match official (TMO) to rule on foul play and on the phase of play leading up to a try, rather than simply ruling on scoring of the try.

    In the event of foul play the TMO’s power will apply from stoppage to stoppage but only at the request of the referee, who can apply sanctions based on the TMO’s recommendation. Ludeke welcomed this law. “This is a good thing because it will reduce foul play,? he said. “The only concern for coaches is that the TMOs are consistent.?

  2. Eaxactly JT, although it seems to be a problem for Frans ‘Brains’ Ludeke.

    Have you ever seen eight or nine in a lineout?

  3. Apologies, apologies, I’m wrong

    I once saw eight players in the lineout….

    ….it was one of those old newsreel recordings in black and white from some test in the 50s.

    (When the wings did the throw-ins)

  4. Reply to il postino @ 11:40 am:

    We have discussed these new laws at the club and we came to the conclusion that all line-outs will in future be full line-outs. On your ball you will want to have more options than the oppo so that kills the short line-out and as a defending team you will want all your forwards in the line-out to be as close to the oppo as possible to defend and stop the attacking team of getting over the gain line.

    WLVs are not bringing much to the party IMO. Drop them and lets get the game right by refereeing what is in the law book! That includes reffing a forward pass!

  5. JT, I think you are spot on.

    Teams have had the option of putting more than just the full complement of forwards (that’s SEVEN for Ludeke’s benefit because the eighth forward is busy throwing the ball in)into the lineout on their own throw for years now, but have never done so. Why should they put in 9 or 13 now?

  6. I often thought it would be a clever ploy (under the old regime) to put 12 players in the lineout, play a quick tap down to the scrummy, quick pass to the only outside back not in the lineout (a very swift wing) and see what he can do with just one oppo outside back to beat.

    Trouble is, you have too many non-specialists (backs) in the lineout who could stuff the lineout up and then you hand the ball to your opponents.

    This is why I don’t think teams will defend lineouts on their own tryline by putting outside backs in the lineout. First they aren’t skilled in shoving in the maul and second the attacking team would have an automatic overlap.

    So all the laws have done is killed the innovation of using short line-outs.

  7. Reply to il postino @ 11:57 am:

    defensive LO will also change! Up untill now the Hooker stood within the 5m and lifted the front jumper to get in front of the team throwing in to their front jumper. Now the hooker must stand 2m back and the 9 or reciever must stand 2m back.

  8. Reply to il postino @ 12:03 pm:

    Under the old laws: The oppo line out can match or have less in the LO but not more! so your ploy will only work if the oppo get sucked in and also put 12 in the LO! Which will not happen.

  9. Ah yes, true. Theoretically you could have mauled with the extra men in the lineout, but we’re talking outside backs, FFS.

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