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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