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Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 16:10 UK

South Africa take stand over laws

Bryce Lawrence awards a free-kick during the Tri-Nations between South Africa and Australia
Free-kicks were used extensively during the Tri-Nations and Super 14

South Africa are heading for a clash with New Zealand and Australia over the game's new experimental law variations.

The Springboks want the 2009 SANZAR competitions - the Super 14 and the Tri-Nations - to be played under the same rules as the Lions tour next year.

At the moment the sanctions regulation, where most penalties are replaced by free-kicks, is used by SANZAR but not by the northern hemisphere countries.

South Africa say they will go to arbitration if no agreement is reached.

Unlike the SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia) competitions, the global trial does not have the sanctions regulation, which states that a free kick is used for all offences apart from offside, not entering through the gate at the breakdown and foul play.

Australia and New Zealand both say the sanctions regulation makes rugby a better product for spectators.

But with the northern hemisphere unions using the global trial, the Springboks want the situation sorted out in time for next summer's British and Irish Lions tour.

"We will play the Springbok end of year tour matches under the global ELVs and, most importantly, we will play the British and Irish Lions under the global ELVs next year," said South African Rugby Union president Oregon Hoskins.

"For consistency's sake and to allow our Springboks the smoothest possible preparations for next year's crucial series against the Lions it is vital that we play under one set of laws.

"We have had five sets of ELVs apply in South Africa this season and it has been confusing to the public and even to the referees, who have shouldered a massive burden. One set of laws for all matches is the only way to go.

"Australia and New Zealand will also be playing their internationals under the global ELVs this year and next.

"I trust we will be able to reach a consensus with our partners when we meet but if that is not possible then we may have to go to arbitration on the matter."

The northern hemisphere unions are sceptical of the regulation and have not included it in any top level competition.

Australia, meanwhile, want it written into the laws permanently.

Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill said recently: "Up until 1 August next year, SANZAR competitions can continue to use the sanctions. And we would be mad not to. If we didn't, we would be putting up the white flag.

"The important point for us is the principle of maintaining our position on the sanctions, which we see as one of the most vital components of the ELVs."

The matter will be discussed at the SANZAR executive committee meeting in Sydney on 15 October.

see also
Ryan in for long haul with ELVs
05 Sep 08 |  Gloucester
The lowdown on the new law variations
04 Sep 08 |  Rugby Union
Saracens boss attacks laws trial
27 Aug 08 |  English
Warrior Latham impressed by ELVs
14 Aug 08 |  Worcester
Bates keen to test new rugby laws
07 Aug 08 |  Newcastle
Tri-Nations to trial law changes
02 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union
RFU questions rugby law changes
23 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
Rewriting rugby's laws
06 Dec 06 |  Rugby Union

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