Leading Australian, New Zealand and South African players have sent a telling message to their sceptical northern hemisphere counterparts that the experimental law variations are the way to go.
Greg Growden writes for stuff.co.nz that as the threat of an international north-south split intensifies, with northern hemisphere countries not wanting to trial the ELVs, a survey conducted by the Australian, New Zealand and South African Rugby Union Players’ Associations stresses that the players relish the advantages the new laws provide.
The survey of 264 Super 14 players (93 Australians, 98 New Zealanders and 73 South African players) revealed that 90 percent of players believed the ELVs were either very or relatively easy to interpret or understand.
Eighty eight percent believed the ELVs created more continuity in play, while 87 percent of the players thought the law variation requiring defending backs to stand more than five metres back from the scrum was a positive.
Significantly, 85 percent of players believe the new free-kick law had a positive impact.
Eighty-two per cent thought the law forbidding a player passing the ball back behind the 22-metre line had been very or somewhat positive for the game, while 83 per cent thought the ELVs had either a very or somewhat positive impact on the game overall. Only 10 percent thought the ELVs had a very or somewhat negative impact on the game. Seven per cent felt it had no difference.
The number of players supporting the ELVs being used in the Tri Nations was 76.5 percent.
Tony Dempsey, the Australian players’ association chief executive, said the results “clearly demonstrate that the players prefer to play under the ELVs”.
It also received the backing of Wallabies winger Lote Tuqiri, who said yesterday he “really enjoyed playing under those laws during the Super 14”.
“The game is certainly a lot quicker, and you run more,” Tuqiri said. “And I like a running game. It’s out of my power, but personally I like the ELVs.”