Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 10:22 GMT
Booth concern over law experiment
Toby Booth
Booth says the experimental laws give referees more influence (Getty)
London Irish forwards coach Toby Booth has reacted cautiously to the experimental law variations (ELVs) being used in the Super 14 competition.

Booth spent a week with the Stormers in South Africa to see how they are adapting to the changes, which mainly affect the scrum and line-out.

Booth told BBC Radio Berkshire he is concerned with the line-out changes.

He said: "It puts too much emphasis on a referee's accuracy. We want teams to determine games, not referees."

Booth added: "Defending the maul at the moment, there's nothing wrong with it as far as I'm concerned. That's still a big part of the game in how to manufacture space.

But Booth was more positive about some of the other changes, especially with regards to the scrum and the requirement for a defensive line to be five metres back.

"Because of the way people defend at scrums, with the greater distance between defensive lines, it should mean there's more space, hence the need to keep scrums squarer - so I see that as a positive," he said.

"I want scrums to be a pushing contest. For me at the moment too many people manipulate things by deliberately wheeling. Any means to make it a bit squarer is a good thing, but not by de-powering them by any shape or form."

I still think there will be interpretation differences between referees in hemispheres, like there always is

Toby Booth

From what Booth has seen at the Stormers, he thinks the changes will speed up the game.

"There will be a lot more free-kicks rather than penalties," he explained. "One of the observations was that it's quicker because of the number of free-kicks that you end up getting . There's only three penalty offences - cynical play (side entry etc), not rolling away and offside.

"From London Irish's point-of-view, it would have some benefit because of the way that we play.

"We would have to adapt and make adjustments. Does that mean you'd reduce your time working on the set-piece? Yes, it probably would."

Booth said he is prepared to see how the new laws work in the Super 14.

"It'll be interesting to see when you have enough games to have a decent statistical analysis, so we can work out what is myth and what is fact," he added.

Brendan Venter
Venter was player-coach at Irish and is now with the Stormers (Getty)

"I still think there will be interpretation differences between referees in hemispheres, like there always is."

As well as seeing how the ELVs are bedding it, it was also a chance for Booth to catch up with two former London Irish coaches now at Stormers - Brendan Venter and Gary Gold.

"It was good to catch up with them and brain-storm, float a few ideas and test a few theories out with each other," Booth said.

"As you don't play in the same competition, it means you can actually be frank and honest about it, without worrying about other people knowing what you're doing.

"They still keep their fingers on the pulse and I know that they're looking to travel over for our Heineken Cup quarter-final, which shows you what they still feel about the club."


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us | Advertise with us