There has been a lot said and written about the introduction of the ELVs. But I feel a great deal of the debate has focussed too closely on the ELVs as if they were some sort of package deal.
It’s been presented as an all or nothing situation with the Southern Hemisphere wanting them all and the Northern Hemisphere wanting nothing to do with them.
This is pig-headed.
Surely the home unions and SANZAR can approach this issue and treat each particular law on its own merit. Some of the better proposals seem to have been sullied by association because they are inextricably linked to some of the not-so-clever ideas thrashed out in the Stellenbosch trials.
I read with interest Paul Ackford’s column (former England second rower) decrying the new ELVs but at the same time admitting the 5m offside line at scrum time and the closing of the pass-back into the 22 loophole are positive and worthy steps.
It seems he has come down with the same disease that has afflicted so many others. There are a considerable number of good, intelligent rugby people in the Northern Hemisphere who have fallen victim to this approach, and frankly I think a great deal of it is hubris.
The old guard, the traditional custodians of the game, do not want their ship to be steered by the southern upstarts.
Not that everything coming out of the Southern Hemisphere is valid and worthwhile.
John O’Neill has trotted out some ham-fisted statements in the last year. Too many powerbrokers are playing the man not the ball
Watching the two Heineken Cup semi-finals on the weekend was a real treat with briliiant, counter-attacking rugby and desperately tough defence. So I can understand the concerns of the Northern Hemisphere.
It was pure and it was a joy to watch. I am also not convinced that the endless stream of free kicks as opposed to the endless kicking to touch and at goal from penalties is really helping.
But some (I would say about 30%) of these ELVs are simply good ideas, apolitical solutions to a game riven with defensive domination.
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