North versus South on the ELVs: is there a solution?

Mark Roar Rookie

By Mark, Mark is a Roar Rookie

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    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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    The Crowd Says (37)

    • April 29th 2008 @ 9:45am
      Terry Kidd said | April 29th 2008 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      Mark you have hit the nail on the head ….. from my reading it appears that many NH rugby types seem to think that with the ELVs it is all or nothing, so they come down on the side of nothing. I don’t want all the ELVs but I do want some, especially the no pass back into the 22 and 5m back from the scrum. That is 2 out of 30 …. so Bob not all of us SH types are blindly advocating the ELVs as a package and we don’t want to change the fundamentals of the game.

      I also don’t agree with Spiro’s assertion that all the ELVs will eventually be adopted, I think some are destined to be scrapped but others are worthy of implementation now and others are worth further examination and review.

    • April 29th 2008 @ 10:04am
      Roger said | April 29th 2008 @ 10:04am | ! Report

      I agree that Ackford, Moore and others seem to have closed their minds to the concept of changing even a morsel of the rules.

      Having a closer look however, I cant help thinking that most Australians, NZers and Saffas are a bit more relaxed that we should be given the watered down version of the ELVs in the s14 this year. What we need to realize is that the two ELVs that NH teams really object to is the ‘hands in ruck’ (HIR) and ‘pulling down of the maul'(PDM) laws.

      Whereas in my heart of hearts I thought JON was quiety pushing the IRB along on the ELV bandwagon, I havent heard one ‘qualified’ Southern Hemisphere exponent of the two terrible rules above.

      Now I watched the ARC last year, and quite frankly these laws CANNOT be brought in. I understand that the hands in the ruck law is designed to draw forwads into the ruck area to contect the ball and accordingly open up defences, but the law slowed play down to league proportions. Union rule makers need to decide how they are going to both get forwards to committ to rucks, as well as encourage quick ball for backlines to attack in space. Now that rucking players is outlawed, their doesnt appear aan easy solution.

      If refs sin bin players caught in rucks stopping the ball from coming out (regardingless of fault..a theory I have frequently flagged), then forwards wont committ to rucks and just spread out, thus crowding defensive lines. If refs continue to allow players to lie on the ball and only award a short arm pently, then their is no deterrant to players to stop doing it.

      I now read that the IRB is going to introduce the HIR and PDM rules carte blanche.

      The cynical side of me thinks however that the IRB is making threats to introduce the HIR and PDM laws so that when the NH put up a fuss to the ELVs as a whole, the true ELVs (less HIR and PDM rules) will be agreed to by all, and then they can go back to their respectve Unions and say what a good job they did to push their agenda and get a concession. This way, only the IRB have egg on their faces, and fans, players and sponsors will cheer their respective unions.

      I hope that latter theory proves true, as I have only realied this week that the two most extreme ELVs might actually see the light of day, and then neither hemisphere would have gotten what they want.

    • April 29th 2008 @ 10:52am
      The Link said | April 29th 2008 @ 10:52am | ! Report

      Solution: play a World Club Challenge between the winner of the Heniken Cup and S14 and play it under the ELV’s. This way the NH can test the rules outside of International Rugby but with all the credibility.

    • April 29th 2008 @ 11:59am
      USRugbyFan said | April 29th 2008 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      I don’t understand the objection to rucking, and why it went away in the first place. When I first started playing rugby (2001) our coach taught us that using the boot was perfectly fine and legal to move a player off the ball, provided you didn’t give the opponent a boot in the face. Anyway, it seems that rugby’s target demographic would be the highly coveted 18-34 male crowd, the same crowd that at least in the US anyway loves MMA. That wonderful sport where two half-naked men try to beat the crap out of each other in almost any manner possible. Male teenagers in the US can’t get enough of that garbage, I don’t know about Australia and NZ, but I can’t see how rucking could be any worse. That was one of the reasons I fell in love with rugby, because it was a tough, manly sport which rewarded controlled aggression.

    • April 29th 2008 @ 12:06pm
      Terry Kidd said | April 29th 2008 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      Good point USRugbyFan and I agree mate …. rucking was ok in my book when I played too but the powers that be have decreed that it is to be no more …. so I also agree with an earlier post about how do we now get players to stop illegally killing/slowing ball.

      My son, 19 years, also loves the MMA and WWF, and for the life of me I can’t see why. Must be my age and demographic showing.

    • April 30th 2008 @ 2:40am
      USRugbyFan said | April 30th 2008 @ 2:40am | ! Report

      I’m not even that old (22), I’d just rather watch a good team sport, than something contrived like UFC or WWE.