The talk of 2021 was the return of Quade Cooper to the Wallabies 10 jersey, which was key to the success against the Springboks in Australia.
Usually I’m opposed to changing of the laws of a game, following the philosophy “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” However, I believe the experimental laws being used in the Tri-Nations at the moment are a god send for rugby union.
A major drawback of rugby for many years was that the team’s kicker had too much influence on the result of each match.
Sure, one team’s forward pack may be superior and earn the penalties for the kicker to capitalise on. But too often the kicker stands out as the dominant player on the field, playing as an individual in a team game.
It invariably lead to boring games and a team’s fortunes being determined predominantly by their kicker (just look at England’s record between 2003 and 2007 when Johnny Wilkinson did and did not play).
But the new laws (awarding free kicks instead of penalties for some indiscretions) have lead to a more attacking style of rugby.
In all bar one Tri-Nations match so far, the winning team has scored 30 points or more, and multiple tries.
New Zealand scored a great length of the field try against the Wallabies in Sydney from a free kick, whereas under the old laws they would have kicked for touch. Free kicks mean teams have to defend longer and the game is played at a faster pace.
So, I hope the IRB keeps these experimental laws, because it encourages teams to play the type of attacking rugby the crowds want to see.