World Rugby announced many new rules which could change the game of rugby from the way we all know it. These rules comprise of the 50:22; goal-line drop-out; flying wedge; one player pre-latched; cleanout and jackal safety, and lastly the red card rule. World Rugby aims to make the game a better all-inclusive product, with players’ well-being at the heart of their thinking by implementing these new rules.
Out of all these rules, there are two controversial new rules that World Rugby will be implementing for the Rugby Championship where New Zealand will be hosting Australia and South Africa will be taking on Argentina.
The New Rules of Rugby
The first rule being implemented is the red card rule; when a player is sent off with a red card, it is the end of their game, but the player can now be substituted by a team-mate after 20 minutes. The main aim it seems is to avoid games being ruined as contests, which can happen if one team is reduced to 14-men for a long duration of the match. The consequences for the team with a red card are reduced, is that the best route to help player behaviour?
The second rule is the 50:22- if the team in possession of the ball kicks from inside their half and it bounces into their opponents’ 22, they will get the throw the ball into the resultant lineout.
The phase must originate inside the kicking team’s half. The NRL, the AU Rugby League has a similar rule to the 50:22; it looks like the World Rugby’s main aim is to put more players in the backfield, covering the 50:22 kick, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed thus creating more space on the wings ultimately allowing for a more open try scoring game.
Most South Africans will not complain about this rule because we kick so much anyway now, we can benefit from it. The consequences of this rule from an attacking point of view are that it could prove a successful weapon, by setting up close-range lineouts on your throw. It will be interesting to see whether the new law leads to more or less kicking.
An Exciting Change or the Beginning of the End?
World rugby is experimenting with the game of rugby and trying to make it more exciting to watch. They want it to be as exhilarating as Kenyan casino games. But these rules could land up being their downfall as they might have the opposite results to what they hoping to achieve.
The teams might land up kicking more, which is already an aspect of the game that is not every fan’s favourite. This poses the question- is the World Rugby doing this for the fans or do they have other motives?