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Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 10:57 UK

Welsh RU against proposed laws

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Rugby pundit Eddie Butler investigates the games' Experimental Law Variations (ELVs)

The Welsh Rugby Union has come out fighting against new experimental laws which have won backing in Australia.

Among the key proposals are downgrading most penalty offences to free-kicks and allowing defending teams to collapse a rolling maul.

International Rugby Board chiefs will discuss the prposals in May and vote fully on them in November.

WRU boss Roger Lewis said: "It's not in the best interests of the game that these laws are introduced en masse."

MAJOR LAW CHANGES
  • Downgrading most penalty offences to free-kicks
  • Allowing handling in the ruck
  • Backs must be 5m behind rear foot at scrum
  • Removing corner flags
  • Permitting defending teams to collapse rolling maul
  • Ball cannot be passed back into 22 and kicked out on the full
  • The Experimental Law Variations are being trialled in the Southern Hemisphere's Super 14 tournament.

    Should the proposals be given the go-ahead, backs would need to be at least 5m behind - rather than level with - the hindmost foot of the scrum; players would be allowed to handle in a ruck and drag down a rolling maul, while most 'technical' offences would be penalised by free-kicks and corner flags would be removed.

    In a statement Lewis told Scrum V: "The WRU have considered the many and varied issues surrounding the proposed new laws very seriously indeed.

    "We have established an internal group led by Gerald Davies and David Pickering who together have gathered the views and opinions from all quarters of the game in Wales, including those of our national coach Warren Gatland.

    "Some members of our group have been surprised by the apparent commercial reasons behind why these critically important issues have been driven through so relentlessly

    Apparently the ELVs are intended to increase ball-in-play time, but the ball-in-play time in Wales' games in one half alone was around 33 minutes

    Ieuan Evans

    "The WRU sincerely hopes that good sense will prevail and that the integrity of the game is upheld."

    The WRU stance over the ELVs has also won the support of Wales and Lions wing Ieuan Evans.

    Evans told Scrum V: "I can imagine Australia's sticky fingers being all over this. The laws look like rugby league by stealth.

    "We need to interpret the laws we've currently got consistently. Let's do that first and foremost.

    "The ELVs seem to be a knee-jerk reaction to the World Cup where there was a lot of kicking.

    "On the other hand South Africa won the tournament and they were the best balanced side and played some of the best rugby as well as kicking a lot.

    "Wales kicked more than they've ever done in the Six Nations yet scored some of the most breathtaking tries and were deservedly champions.

    606: DEBATE

    "Apparently, the ELVs are intended to increase ball-in-play time, but the ball-in-play time in Wales' games in one half alone was around 33 minutes."

    He added: "How much ball-in-play time do you need? It seems a knee-jerk reaction.

    "One or two of the proposals aren't bad - I can understand the one about standing five metres back from a scrum - but generally I don't like the constant meddling with the laws.

    "It's an imperfect game and that's where its beauty lies."


    see also
    Aussies seek law change deadline
    17 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
    Booth concern over law experiment
    13 Feb 08 |  London Irish
    Rewriting rugby's laws
    06 Dec 06 |  Rugby Union
    New scrummaging law takes force
    01 Jan 07 |  Laws & Equipment
    BBC Sport Wales coverage
    07 Aug 07 |  Wales
    Magners Celtic League
    11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
    Heineken Cup
    11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
    European Challenge Cup
    11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
    Anglo-Welsh Cup
    11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
    WRU Challenge Cup archive
    12 Jul 06 |  Welsh
    Welsh Premiership
    11 Apr 07 |  Welsh
    Rugby union positions guide
    05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment


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