Rugby’s penalty fixation is unfair on the sport

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    Dropping penalties to two points and introducing five-minute sin bin cards are the cure that would ensure running rugby lives on. It has taken law change after law change to finally clean up the breakdown, though northern hemisphere referees are still finding their feet.

    The last two years of International rugby has seen a shift towards ball-in-hand rugby as a result of the tackle release laws ensuring speedy recycle at the breakdown and higher ball retention.

    Even England, the most conservative team in world rugby, have revitalised their game, most emphatically displayed against the young Wallabies on last Movember’s spring tour.

    That was a great example of beating someone at their own game. The Irish and Welsh have even jumped on the bandwagon, although they don’t quite have the skill sets to execute it yet.

    It is still early days in the World Cup, the only encounters of powerful nations were England-Argentina and Wales-South Africa, both results hinging on the boots of kickers.

    Think back to Rugby World Cup 1999. Jannie de Beer potted five drop goals against England in the quarter-final, he could have ruined the whole World Cup had it not been for Stephen Larkham’s first attempt at a field goal, not bad for a first either.

    I’m no genius but that’s the equivalent of three tries. I don’t care how good the kicks were, scoring three tries in a World Cup quarter final deserves better compensation.

    Possibly the greatest injustice occurred in 2006 when the World XV were beaten 30-27 by a tryless Springboks outfit. Thats right, nine penalty goals by the one and only Percy Montgomery and a field goal from winger Gaffie de Toit.

    The world XV scored two tries to none yet lost. The biggest problem I have with this is that it wasn’t even a Test for a trophy or part of a tournament.

    The World XV, like Barbarians fixtures are for the good of the game, they are intended to showcase rugby by the greatest players of our game.

    We are coming off the back of a stellar Super XV campaign and are being treated to some entertaining rugby thus far in New Zealand however I fear its only a matter of time until the Jannies and Percies come out of the woodwork in the current form of Jonny Wilkinson, Dan Carter, James Hook (if they award his kicks), Felipe Contepomi and of course Francois Steyn.

    There’s a reason de Villiers picked the Racing Metro based player. And that reason comes in the form of his capability to slot 60 metre field goals.

    I don’t see Australia taking enough three-pointers to scare anyone. There’s only a handful of points between O’Connor, Beale and Cooper. It’s a shame you don’t get three points for flick passes and brain explosions. We would be favourites.

    Hopefully my cynical expectations are wrong and we see tries take priority when the heat is on.

    Finally, this is my the cure that would ensure running rugby lives on.

    Try – 5 points
    Conversion – 2 points
    Penalty goal – 2 points
    Drop goal – 1 point
    Five minute sin bin cards= to prevent an increase in professional fouls.

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    The Crowd Says (73)

    • Roar Guru

      September 15th 2011 @ 8:37am
      LeftArmSpinner said | September 15th 2011 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      I agree completely and would add that there should be yellow cards sooner. Yellow cards open the game up even more.

      Don’t let the players, particularly the forwards, pretend that at the start of every game, they need time to relearn the rules. Nope, this is not a period of relearning but a period of milking advantages from the ref. Again, the game suffers.

      But, in the meantime, every coach needs at least one good goal kicker and a back up in case of injury and also a field goal kicker for the tight ones!

    • September 15th 2011 @ 8:41am
      niwdEyaJ said | September 15th 2011 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      Reducing penalties to two points may encourage even more infringements as the “cost” of saving a possible try is even less than it is now. That’s not to say I don’t agree with the concept of two-point penalties however I think it needs to be accompanied by restart where the infingement occured regardless of whether the penalty attempt was successful or not.

      It completely infuriates me that after an attacking team gets a penalty shot, they have to go back to the middle and start again.

      In my opinion, penalties should be reduced to two points AND regardless of whether the kicker slots it throug the big H, the restart occurs wherever the infingement took place with either a tap or attacking scrum feed.

      This keeps the pressure on the defending side until they either crumble and let in a try or show some nuts, defend like steel and secure a legal turnover. If the defending team instead insists on cynical play, the attacking team will continue to get “free” shots at goal and still remain in a position to apply pressure for a try,

      • September 15th 2011 @ 8:54am
        he's been doing it all day sir said | September 15th 2011 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        thats why there would be 5 min sin bins, to prevent that from happening.
        the idea of resuming play where it occured could potentially result in another infringement and in turn another penalty attempt. this could actually be the worst idea i have ever heard. team kicks penalty in front of posts, gets a scrum afterwards, kicks a drop goal, gets another scrum, oh- another drop goal………..

      • September 15th 2011 @ 9:56am
        mitzter said | September 15th 2011 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        “In my opinion, penalties should be reduced to two points AND regardless of whether the kicker slots it throug the big H, the restart occurs wherever the infingement took place with either a tap or attacking scrum feed.”

        -Worst idea ever! Give the ball back to the team that got the penalty??

        -I’m now coming around to the idea that points should stay where they are for now and that what needs to be done is that just like a punt, if the ball goes dead from a field or penalty goal attempt, the defending team has the option of a scrum restart where it was kicked. Hopefully that adds less incentive to kick that penalty from 60m out, where they had no chance in hell of scoring a try (and thus don’t deserve any points)

      • September 15th 2011 @ 9:56am
        kiwidave said | September 15th 2011 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        If you let the team start from the penalty spot whether they got it or not they would just take a shot from every penalty within 60m of the posts. Why would you ever go for touch or take the tap when you’d effectively get a tap anyway. It sounds like a recipe for more kicking to me.

        • September 15th 2011 @ 9:57am
          mitzter said | September 15th 2011 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          Exactly -ridiculous idea

        • September 15th 2011 @ 5:01pm
          AndyS said | September 15th 2011 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

          You mean as opposed to taking the shot from 60m out, confident in the knowledge that if you miss it you’ll get it back from the 22 drop-out….?

          Players will go to the line or take the tap if they back their attack or the defense is in disarray, same as now. That said, if the restart were taken from the point of penalty, I’d reduce the value of the penalty to 1 point.

          • September 16th 2011 @ 8:49am
            mitzter said | September 16th 2011 @ 8:49am | ! Report

            see other point – go to a scrum option on dead balls

          • September 16th 2011 @ 9:11am
            Bakkies said | September 16th 2011 @ 9:11am | ! Report

            You don’t have to take a drop out. You can toe it over the 22metre and get the ball back.

    • September 15th 2011 @ 8:48am
      he's been doing it all day sir said | September 15th 2011 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      I agree every team needs a great kicker for the tight ones, and for me the tight ones are when the scores are deadlocked and you need to win the game or you are down by one and kick a drop goal to go into extra time. The idea of introducing 5 min cards would ensure there wasn’t an increase in professional fouls as a result of the points reduction.

      Think about how many games you have watched where teams were down by 2 and simply set up in the pocket and took pot shots at goal. Now imagine if they had to try and score a try to win and how much more exciting that would have been. You would have witnessed the most desperate determined rugby ever played, instead you said ‘great kick’.

      • September 15th 2011 @ 2:03pm
        Muzza said | September 15th 2011 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

        I recall a couple and they were awesome! Especially the Nick Evans one. That said yeah we all (except the poms) would prefer tries. I don’t have too many problems with the game now other the scrum resets. As a player I love the scrum but the reset issue needs to be resolved.

    • September 15th 2011 @ 9:10am
      jumpers said | September 15th 2011 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      Degrading the penalty score down would certainly receive a very negative response from our NH friends. But I have to agree that this measure is long over due and may encourage teams to explore the expansive style of running rugby.

      This is the style that the ABs created way back at the first WC and was successful!
      And yes at this WC teams such as South Africa, England and the ABs have their accurate kickers who can score these points as proven by results in the past WC’s.

      It is also necessary to have a reliable kicker and most teams do!

    • September 15th 2011 @ 9:22am
      Lee said | September 15th 2011 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Keep the points the same, but introduce a 5 minute sin bin for any offence in your own 22m…that way when teams get close they get more of an incentive to go for the try!

      • Roar Guru

        September 15th 2011 @ 9:26am
        LeftArmSpinner said | September 15th 2011 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        Lee, thats more like the toughness that I propose. Alternatively, just check their number and if they are a forward, send them off for the rest of the game.

        • September 15th 2011 @ 2:09pm
          Muzza said | September 15th 2011 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

          Good idea for the card but you are joking re: forwards.

          This plus the Cup, Plate, Shield idea is great.

    • September 15th 2011 @ 9:23am
      grandpabhaile said | September 15th 2011 @ 9:23am | ! Report

      “Degrading the penalty score down would certainly receive a very negative response from our NH friends.”

      You mean South Africa wouldn’t mind? Or Argentina? Or Tonga? Or Samoa?

      Australia wouldn’t mind because they’ve poor place kickers.

      New Zealand might. For as long as they have Dan Carter anyway and if they need a penalty kick to win a World Cup… 🙂

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