Just for a minute or two, I want you to step away from what you feel about the game of Rugby. I love the game, but I am more and more regularly finding myself frustrated with the state of the game. How often have you found yourself frustrated at a refereeing decision, or wondering what would been if a ref hadn’t run the game the way they did.

The truth of the matter is that Rugby is a game strongly influenced by specifics and interpretations of the rules, and the rules of the game keep changing. Will we even like this new game they are trying to create?

Lets compare Rugby with a pure game like Football (soccer). The rules of football are simple, you must kick the ball into the opposition goal. You need to stay onside, and you shouldn’t foul opposing players. That’s about it. The game is simple, yet it is easy to follow and understand, and because of this it is the most popular game in the world today.

Rugby is not simple. Ask someone who has been watching the game for 20 years to explain the technicalities of the tackle ball and break down? Or how a scrum penalty is awarded? Most simply won’t have a straight answer.

There is a real problem with the state of the game we love. The people that pull the strings time and time again show that they are more interested in turning Rugby Union into an elitist game with ridiculous technical rules.

Lets look at some examples. Many people would consider Richie McCaw to be one of the best players in modern rugby. Yet some openly consider him to be a cheat, who plays right on the edge of the rules. What sort of game can create such interpretive and varying opinions.

Refs make mistakes, often. But is it their fault that the game’s rules are so technical and open to interpretation that a game between the two same teams can be so different with a different official running the game. Look at the three instances this year – 2008 where New Zealand have played Australia in the Tri Nations. In the first game South African ref Joubert penalised New Zealand heavily, which removed New Zealand’s dominance around the scrum and tackle ball. Australia won. In the second game South African ref Lawrence didn’t penalise New Zealand so heavily and allowed them to dominate the break down, scrum and line out, and New Zealand won comfortably. In the third game, South African ref Kaplan, over refereed the technicalities of the game for both teams awarding a ridiculous amount of infringements against both teams. The game was close, but New Zealand just won. Same teams, different refs, completely different games.

Rugby rules rule rugby? What are your thoughts?

Categories: Opinion.

Author : Simon Ward

Author's Website | Articles from

The creator of RugbyCoaching.net, and a rugby enthusiast from Hamilton New Zealand.

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Tommy D

    It’s all well & good comparing rugby to football, until you actually try and watch a game of each. Football is now full of diving and play-acting, why? Because the foul rule is so simple that it’s exploited by players. I would much rather see a “cheat” like Richie McCaw week in week out, rather than football players who spend half the game rolling around whining. I my opinion I think McCaw a great player, if it was just as easy as cheating why wouldn’t every player be doing the same around the ruck, as well as leading the best side in the world as well of course.

    These interpretive and varying options are certainty there but they need not be as restrictive as you make them out to be. If you know Joubert is ref-ing, then teams (especially the likes of NZ) should have the capabilities & foresight to adapt there game. Wouldn’t that make for a more interesting game?

    And I don’t think the RFU are doing a bad job, I think the introduction of the ELV will improve the spectator aspect of the game greater, whether I’m right remains to be seen!

    Thanks

  2. Ashwin

    What happens when:
    a) the ball goes over the oppositions touch-in-goal line during normal play?
    b) the ball goes over the dead ball line from a kick off?
    c) the ball goes over the touch-in-goal line from a 22 dropout?
    d) the ball goes over the touch-in-goal line from a kick off?
    e) the ball goes over the dead ball line from a 22 drop out?
    f) a drop goal is scored from a free kick?
    g) when you kick the ball over YOUR OWN dead ball line?
    h) when you kick the ball over YOUR OWN touch-in-goal line?
    i) when a drop goal attempt goes over the touch-in-goal line?
    j) what happens when you walk over your dead ball line with the ball. What happens when you
    walk with the ball over the touch in goal line?
    k) what happens when a kick for touch is brought back in the field of play by the crowd. what
    happens when a kick for touch is brought back into the field of play by the wind?

    1. Can you unjoin a ruck to get the ball?
    2. Can the opposition players not in the ruck use their hands to get the ball out of the ruck?
    3. Can people not in the ruck use their hands to get the ball out of it?
    4. Does a drop goal need to be a drop kick?
    5. Can you unjoin a ruck once you have joined it?
    6. What happens when the ball goes through the posts, over the dead ball line from a kick off?
    7. If a penalty kick is short of the goal, what happens?
    8. If a conversion is short of the goal, what happens?
    9. What happens when you kick the ball through your posts?
    10. What happens when you kick the ball through your posts and it goes over the dead ball line?
    11. Can the KICKING TEAM play on with the ball after a conversion/penalty kick at goal is short of
      the goal?
    12. Does the opposition HAVE to play on with the ball after a kick at goal is short of the posts?
    13. If a team wants to kick for touch and the ball does not go out, is the KICKING TEAM allowed to
      get under the ball and play on? If not, what happens?
    14. Can you only do a quick throw in when the whistle isnt blown yet saying the ball is out?
    15. If a team wants to kick for touch, does the kickers team need to be behind the kicker?
    16. Can you intercept a quick throw in?
    17. What happens when the ball goes through the posts from a kick off. (not over the dead ball line.)
    18. If a team needs to be at least 10 metres from the conversion kicker to charge, where is there to be
      if the kicker is kicking less than 10 metres away from the posts?
    19. What happens when an advantage is being played and the oppositon is offside?
    20. What happens when a team awarded the advantage is offside during it?
    21. If a team awarded an advantage knocks on during the advantage, what happens?
    22. Is it optional to kick a conversion?
    23. How far back do the backs need to be from a lineout?
    24. What happens when a team not awarded the advantage gets a free kick or penalty somehow?
    25. What happens when a team awarded the advantage gets a penalty or free kick?
    26. When does an advantage end?
    27. If a penalty goal or conversion is short of the goal or rebounded of the posts, is the kicking team allowed to play on?
    28. If a team deliberately kicks the ball of the tee a short distance, are they allowed to play on with the ball?
    29. Where do you enter the tackle?
    30. What happens when you kick the ball over your own touch in goal line or dead ball line from a penalty kick?
    31. What happens when you kick the ball over the oppositions touch in goal line or dead ball line from a penalty kick?
    32. What happens when you kick the ball over your dead ball line or touch in goal line from a kick for touch?
    33. What happens when you kick the ball over your oppositionsdead ball line or touch in goal line from a kick for touch?
    34. What does this mean, “players cannot be rucked when lying on the ground.”?
    35. Are you allowed to do a quick throw in when an opposition player is right near the throw in?
    36. How do you know when you are tackled?
    37. Can you unjoin a maul?
    38. Can the ball carrier in a maul unjoin it?
    39. Can the people in the ruck collapse the ruck? If not what happens if you do?
    40. Can you use your hands to pick up the ball when you push the other team over in a ruck?
    41. Does the scrum half still need to pick up the ball from a ruck when the scrum halfs team pushes the other team over?
    42. If you are not in a scrum and you cross the offside line which is 5 metres away from the scrum, a penalty kick is awarded to the opposition on the offside line, is that the line where the people not in the scrum, are not allowed to cross? or the line straight through the scrum?
    43. What happens when the team awarded the advantage infringes and does something wrong during the advantage?

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