SPIRO: ARU kicks an NRC goal, Aussies power on in Super Rugby

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    ARU CEO Bill Pulver will need more than a few glamour shots to fix the game in Australia. (Image: Supplied)

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    As a veteran (according to The Australian) rugby journalist, I have waged a constant battle against the rugby bureaucracy, whether internationally or nationally.

    The NZRU, ARU, SARU, SANZAR and the IRB have all been lined up from time to time for shots across the bow.

    It is with relief and some pleasure (in anticipation, perhaps) that I can applaud the initiative of the ARU in constructing what looks to be a much-needed, viable and necessary third tier for Australian rugby.

    This is an important achievement. The National Rugby Championship format, which spreads the nine teams around Australia, is about the proportion of support for rugby around the nation. There is scope for growth in the number of teams if the format is successful.

    This is an important consideration. The former provincial tournament, devised by Gary Flower when he was the ARU’s chief executive, was unsustainable. It would have bankrupted the ARU if it had been allowed to continue.

    John O’Neill is frequently criticised for ending this format. But if the Flower model had been kept on for a number of years, the ARU would not have been in the position it is now – able to put in place a national provincial tournament, with much of the risk carried by private or non-ARU investors.

    Flower has, commendably, shown his confidence in the Bill Pulver format by assuming the chairmanship of the North Harbour Rays (Manly, Warringah, Gordon and Norths).

    Judging by early comments on The Roar, the main issue with the new format is where the NSW Country team will play its matches and the role of the two great Sydney eastern suburbs clubs, Randwick and Easts, with the NSW Country team (if any).

    Fox Sports has guaranteed to televise one match a week live. Presumably, some or all of the other matches will be played on Fox Sports after the event. And presumably, too, all the finals will be played live when there will be no Super Rugby to fill the schedule.

    There may be scope, too, for the ABC to get involved in broadcasting some of the matches, as an addition to its coverage of club rugby. If not the ABC, then SBS.

    SBS spends huge amounts of money on football coverage, presumably on the grounds that migrant and ethnic communities follow the code. There are huge British, South African, New Zealand, Islander and South American populations that follow rugby, a game played in over 100 countries, and SBS needs to consider the interests of these populations.

    In announcing that the NRC will start in August and finish in early November, an 11-week tournament, Pulver said he was interested in rugby fans suggesting “law changes and match day innovations that could form part of this new competition”.

    It may surprise some administrators (though this excludes Pulver), but rugby journalists are fans, too. So I am taking up the offer.

    The NRC should be played under the full experimental law variations, with a view to getting these reforms adopted in total after Rugby World Cup 2015.

    There should be a time-out while scrums are being set. This idea comes from Greg Growden and has a lot of merit, as scrums now consume more match time than penalties. Halfbacks should be allowed to feed the scrum immediately after it has set. If a side holds the ball in the back of a scrum to force a penalty and the ball doesn’t come out, for whatever reason, the feeding side should lose the ball under the ‘use it or lose it’ mantra.

    At the 75th minute of the match, the clock should be stopped during all stoppages. This would give sides coming back into the match the time, which could be up to 10 minutes of running time, to get in front in a close match.

    I wouldn’t mind, either, the trial of a new scoring system of five points for a try, two points for conversions and penalties, and one point for a field goal.


    On the last round of the 2014 Super Rugby tournament, a pattern is emerging to suggest the Australian conference might be the strongest of the three.

    The Western Force showed they can live up to their name with their victory over the surprisingly flat Chiefs. The Waratahs were impressive in defeating the Rebels, which raises the question of what has happened to the Rebels side that started the season so impressively against the Cheetahs.

    For their next match, against the Force, the Rebels made six changes to their starting line. They were monstered and have not been able to recapture their first-round careless rapture.

    Round 6 also showed the power of the home advantage, with all of the home sides winning. I wish I had considered this matter before making my picks.

    The two most impressive wins were the Brumbies against the Stormers and the Bulls scoring two tries to one against the previously unbeaten Sharks at the bullpit of Loftus Versfeld.

    The Brumbies are maturing into a formidable side. They have retained the forward power and precision Jake White instilled, while adding the Stephen Larkham aggression in attack and defence in their backline. They are now more like those great Brumbies sides under Rod Macqueen and Eddie Jones that could defeat opponents in the backs and in the forwards.

    The Waratahs get their chance at the weekend to show whether they are the real deal when they play the Sharks at Kings Park, and the Chiefs will be more than tested by the rampant Bulls.

    Will the home ground advantage be too much for the visitors’ pretensions to the 2014 Super Rugby championship?

    Finally, in the week when the last two unbeaten sides were defeated, some gossip from my snouts in New Zealand. It appears John Kirwan is no longer enchanted with Benji Marshall’s potential magic. Marshall has picked up the vibe, apparently, and is looking for a contract to play Super League in Britain.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (116)

    • March 25th 2014 @ 3:14am
      Bakkies said | March 25th 2014 @ 3:14am | ! Report

      To be fair to Flower the big Sydney club axis (Easts, Randwick, Syd Uni) did anything it could to make the ARC model unworkable.

      Maybe the NSW Country clubs become junior feeder clubs to Easts and Randwick. Country lads go to those two clubs. Randwick did well out of two country lads in particular Chris Latham and David Campese. Maybe they think the next Campo and Latho will end up on their lap.

      • March 25th 2014 @ 9:54am
        Crazy Horse said | March 25th 2014 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        Exactly. The ARC was working fine and was scuttled by in fighting and petty polics by Sydney Clubs. If they do it again I propose that their team be dropped and replaced with one of the other aspirants. The question of funding was a completely seperate issue that could have been over come without abandoning the competition.

    • March 25th 2014 @ 3:42am
      nerval said | March 25th 2014 @ 3:42am | ! Report

      Shame, if true, about Benji – but I suspect this says more about his coach than it does about anyone else.

      Just over a week ago, in his full debut, he looked by far the Blues’ most skilful and creative player. His try was an absolute beauty. By comparison, the multi-capped All Black, Piri Weepu looked a busted flush. And he was not alone.

      So what does Sir John Kirwan do? Drop Marshall to the bench for the very next game! Still, I’m sure Kirwan knows what he’s doingโ€ฆ

      • March 25th 2014 @ 3:47am
        ozinsa said | March 25th 2014 @ 3:47am | ! Report

        Nerval, totally agreed. The Blues look poorly coached – as if they have no idea how they want to score points (or stop them being scored). Individual brilliance means they will win matches they have no right to but won’t trouble anybody come Finals time as they’ll be on end of season trips. I’ve only got them right once in tipping and I blame SJK.

      • March 25th 2014 @ 1:37pm
        The Bleat said | March 25th 2014 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

        I keep thinking about how useful Benji would have been at the Rebels, or Ihaia West for that matter.

        • March 26th 2014 @ 12:25pm
          Oscar said | March 26th 2014 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

          How about the rebels stop taking Kiwi players and find some young up and coming Aussies

      • March 25th 2014 @ 4:47pm
        Jackster said | March 25th 2014 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

        Yeah I dont believe this rumour so its a wait and see game. Id be surprised if either of these 2 men were giving up so soon especially since JK’s said from the outset they werent rushing Benji. And Benji doesnt quit that easily. We’ll see….

    • March 25th 2014 @ 3:44am
      ozinsa said | March 25th 2014 @ 3:44am | ! Report

      Spiro, I hate the idea of making rule changes. If we’re building a third tier to allow payers to be ready to step up when required then allow them to play the same game as they would be asked to step up to.

      • March 25th 2014 @ 4:49am
        Johnno said | March 25th 2014 @ 4:49am | ! Report

        the idea of 2 point field-goals, or penalties is silly. It would just increase the proffesional fouls, and cynical play at the breakdown. I don’t mind increasing the try-conversion to 3-points.

        • Roar Guru

          March 25th 2014 @ 4:59am
          biltongbek said | March 25th 2014 @ 4:59am | ! Report

          The varsity cup in South Africa has been using the 2 point penalty scoring system with conversion counting 3 points for a few years now, the last time I read a report on it, not much has changed.

          • March 25th 2014 @ 5:17pm
            soapit said | March 25th 2014 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            dont think you can read too much into what happens in amateur comps anyway. the amount of cynical penalties professional fouls would be very different.

        • Roar Guru

          March 25th 2014 @ 6:19am
          Charging Rhino said | March 25th 2014 @ 6:19am | ! Report

          He suggested a 1 point field goal. Which imo is ridiculous. The skill and precision it takes to score from a drop goal is far superior to that of scoring a try. If it was so easy then we’d see a lot more of them surely? Yet we hardly see any. Because it’s difficult, and often requires a full team effort to set up the stage for the kicker to have a go, usually under immense pressure from the opposition.
          I find drop goals more entertaining than many tries scored, purely because of the rarity and admiration of how goes into it to being able to pull it off. And then you get guys like Fran’s Steyn, and even Marnitz Boshoff who can bang them over from behind the half way line. – Simply a pure joy to watch and observe. An exquisite piece of skill and talent to do that. I can watch replays and not get tired of it, like Fran’s Steyns monster drop goal from behind his own 10m line in France, now that is entertainment!!!
          Heck I’d even suggest it should be worth 4 points. But that’s just me.

          • March 25th 2014 @ 10:09am
            jameswm said | March 25th 2014 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            Scoring a field goal is harder than scoring a try?

            Turn it up.

            • Roar Guru

              March 25th 2014 @ 5:56pm
              Charging Rhino said | March 25th 2014 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

              I will turn it up….

              Out of the 35 Drop Goals attempted in 2013 Super Rugby, only 8 were successful! Yes you read that correctly only eight! Sias Ebersohn banged 2 over in one game too.

              27 were missed. 23% success rate.

              That blows perceptions out the window……!

              In contrast there were 595 tries scored last year in Super Rugby. 580 in the regular season and 15 in the finals series.

              Now tell me….. which way is easier to score points? If it was so easy surely we’d be seeing a LOT more Drop goals?? Yet we don’t, and with a 23% success rate I can understand why.

              Because it’s difficult and usually requires a full team effort and precision to create the environment where the kicker can have a successful shot. Like England in 2003 WC final.
              Again you can get a X factor player who can can bang them over in open play, or from the half way line. But isn’t that the same as having an X Factor play such as Israel Folou who seems to get himself into the right positions to score tries at will?? And a try is potentially worth 7 yet a drop goal only 3??

              Rugby is not only a running game and you don’t only score points by dotting it over the line. There are a few ways that you can score. That is what makes it so flipping brilliant and unique!! ๐Ÿ™‚

          • March 25th 2014 @ 10:17am
            Roos-Tah said | March 25th 2014 @ 10:17am | ! Report

            It takes skill, but the point is that field goals are virtually impossible to defend against if you have someone in your team who is adept at it. Most teams can make their way into the opposition half numerous times in a half, but if one team has a drop-goal specialist who’s dropping 4 point goals with every visit, then defence would become largely irrelevant and there’d be no point in scoring tries.

            Personally, if that’s what you want to see, there’s plenty of it in AFL.

            • Roar Guru

              March 25th 2014 @ 6:03pm
              Charging Rhino said | March 25th 2014 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

              Mate there were only 8 successful Drop goals scored out of 35 attempts in Super Rugby 2013. That’s only 23% success rate. Out of 245 games. Therefore I’d beg to differ on your argument of being “virtually impossible to defend against”. Otherwise there’d have been a higher success rate.

              In 245 games only 35 were attempted and 8 were successful!? The ratio is 1 drop goal was attempted in every 7 games. (Yet in reality 2 or 3 were attempted in the same game).

              Nothing like AFL.

              And lastly, why wouldn’t you want someone in your team who is adept at slotting a drop goal here and then?

              • March 25th 2014 @ 6:51pm
                Chan Wee said | March 25th 2014 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                @ Charging Rhino :

                May i also point out that ur stats may be skewed by DG attemps when penalty advantage is being played.

                In recent years i have seen many players go for a drop when inside oppositions 30 , usually in front or close to posts, once the ref’s arm comes out. this is becoz they know even if drop is missed there is a the chance to go for 3 with the penalty kick.

                the drop goal is one of the hardest skills in rugger , simply becoz of the shape of the ball. when u drop it and kick on the bounce, it becamoes mathematical margins.

                if it is as easy 3 points as people make out, then there will be many conversions in 7s rugger. becoz drop takes place in open play , unless u can put good distance between u and defenders, it becomes a bit of a hazard. not only will u miss the kick, u may get hit hard and injured.

              • Roar Guru

                March 25th 2014 @ 8:01pm
                Charging Rhino said | March 25th 2014 @ 8:01pm | ! Report

                Sorry 125 matches played.

                Chan Wee – Valid point about players going for the drop goal when their team have penalty advantage. I don’t know how you’d get stats for that one!?

                I guess the point is there are still very few drop goals that are successful in Super Rugby. They are dwarfed by the number of tries scored and penalty kicks and conversions.

              • March 26th 2014 @ 2:34am
                Tane Mahuta said | March 26th 2014 @ 2:34am | ! Report

                The points scoring system is perfect.

          • March 25th 2014 @ 10:37am
            clarkeg said | March 25th 2014 @ 10:37am | ! Report

            I agree with your comments on the field (dropped) goal. If players like Boshoff, Steyn, Zinzan Brooke etc can kick a field goal in open play from 45 – 55 metres out then that deserves 3 points. I think it is an exciting part of the game. It requires team effort and skill, firstly to achieve field position and then to execute the kick. I recall Wilkinson’s field goal to win the world cup final for England 2003. This was achieved through absolute team precision to provide Wilkinson the opportunity to kick the goal. Contrast that with the All Blacks 1/4 final loss in 2007. Why didn’t they attempt a dropped goal. Because the team did not have the skill set to make it happen.

            I do get a bit bored whenever I hear or read that we need to change the scoring system in rugby. Rugby has many many problems at present but in my opinion the scoring system is not one of them.

            • Roar Guru

              March 25th 2014 @ 5:13pm
              Charging Rhino said | March 25th 2014 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

              Exactly clarkeg. 100% agree with everything you wrote there

            • March 25th 2014 @ 6:41pm
              Chan Wee said | March 25th 2014 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

              @ clarkeg :

              “” Contrast that with the All Blacks 1/4 final loss in 2007. Why didnโ€™t they attempt a dropped goal. Because the team did not have the skill set to make it happen. “”

              have to disagree with that point. NZ had Carter and Evans in addition to Luke M and Ice T who did have the ability to drop-kick.

              However for whatever reason and despite seeing the success of England last time, NZ did not and have not espoused the use of drop goal as means of scoring in their game plan.

              Dan C in scoring over 1400 points in 100 tests has only managed to put ovet 6 drops (no idea how many he missed). also not sure how many in club , super rugger.

              On the other hand I think Morne Steyn has a record for drops in super rugger.

              The preference to go for drops may be something mental rather than just ability, because both my examples do have the physical and technical ability to successfully drop a goal.

              Maybe someone could look at stats from different countries to see the prevalence of drop as means of scoring. Without a lot of figures, i would say it is least preferred in NZ ๐Ÿ™‚

              also on the Zinzan dg : i wish to say it had nothing to do with fieldposition or team preparation. IMO it was a snap decision on ZB’s part to “try a drop” and it came off. he was beyond halfway (if i remember correct) and not any opponent in sight. it has gone into folklore because of the audacity mor or less to try! however for the record Sergio Parisse has aso dropped 2 goals (though not from so far) but it is hardly metioned.

              But of course agree that Wilco’s WC wining dg was manufactured and i blame OZ for not reacting quickly.

              • March 26th 2014 @ 12:48am
                Bakkies said | March 26th 2014 @ 12:48am | ! Report

                What needs to be noted is that Wilko kicked that off his weak foot (as he is left footed). He has gone on to kick more right footed drop goals. An example to young 10s in the youths why they should practice with both feet.

              • March 26th 2014 @ 8:52am
                clarkeg said | March 26th 2014 @ 8:52am | ! Report

                The point I am trying to make is that a dropped goal is well worth the 3 points and the present points system is fine as it is.

                Achieving a “manufactured” goal (using your word) requires more than just having an individual player capable of kicking one. That All Black team of 2007 had little idea of how to go about it. As you suggest, the use of the dropped goal as a means of scoring was not part of their game plan.

                In regard to Zinzan Brooke. I didn’t mean to imply that the particular drop goal you refer to had anything to do with field position or team effort. ( I assume we are talking semi final NZ vs Eng 1995) These types of field goals from open play are individual but spectacular. Another noteable Brooke drop goal was in 1996 3rd test against South Africa. This was more of a “manufactured” goal.

              • March 26th 2014 @ 5:20pm
                Chan Wee said | March 26th 2014 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

                @ clarkeg :

                too true. MIB have always been about running rugger. I remember reading DC saying that in 2011 he had been practicing drops , that MIB realize the value of turning the scoreboard over.

                IMO it may be their “beliefs” that as “All Blacks” they have the power and skills to score trys once in opposition 30m ๐Ÿ™‚

                As for the points system it is fine now that a try has 5 points (used to be 4) ; if at all it is the penalty that needs to be reduced to 2 points, to make teams try to play rather than kick.

                IMO the individual skill of dropping is less important than the teams’ preparation for the drop. there needs to be a lot of thnking about angles distance wind number of players commited / free, etc to manufacture a drop.

                when a fly half or the designated kicker , drops back and gets set the opposition need to realize what is on (which the OZ did not do in that final).

                but there are snap kicks by players on the go, like a scrum half (or even a prop , which i saw in sri lanka), there is nothing one can do.

                IMO one reason for the scarce use of DG may be that when an attacking team is in the opposition 30m, which IMO happens to be the ideal distance for drops, team would think of 7 points rather than 3.

                another mitigating factor may be, when hitting the line in search of a try, the attacking team may get the defenders to commit a foul, which would earn a penalty and 3 points.

                so it is a decision between going fr 7 points and maybe get 3 OR just look for 3.
                the first option is more rational, UNLESS ur at the death and the margin of defeat and victory (or draw ) is 3 !!!

                another reason may be that drop is an individual effort and decision. if it goes thru fine; if not then there will be many saying a pass and run at the line would have been the better option. so there may not be many fly halves or centers who want such weight on their heads.

                IMO drop is a valuable option going upagainst very defensive teams. in any tournamnet there are porous defences and tight defences. if u know getting a try is hard then it is always better to go t their 30 and come away with 3 points if u have a DG specialist ๐Ÿ™‚

              • March 26th 2014 @ 5:33pm
                Katipo said | March 26th 2014 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

                Re drop goals.

                The drop goal is a great option for converting territory in to points and keep the pressure accumulating against an opposition. Its under utilised.

                As a Tahs supporter it’s long pained me how fellow NSW supporters are so anti-field goal. Even to the extent of booing Mat Dunning for his spectacular goal all those years ago. I was at the game. Waikato had nothing on that game and the ‘Tahs needed a 4 try bonus point to make the play-offs. Because the ‘Tahs refused to take any 3 point options the Chiefs stayed in touch on the score board and their defensive line held firm. In my opinion, if the ‘Tahs had knocked over 3 or 4 penalties and drop goals the Chiefs heads would have dropped along with their defence and the ‘Tahs would have run in those 4 tries. Simple stuff. But a lot of rugby players aren’t that smart!

                Drop goals are a good thing. I’d like to see more drop goals and less place kicks that’s for sure.

          • March 25th 2014 @ 12:30pm
            JimmyC said | March 25th 2014 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

            My suggestion would be to slightly tweak the outcome of a missed dropped goal. Rather than a 22m restart the defending team should be able to take a scrum from where the ball was kicked. Just like what occurs when a normal kick goes dead in goal.

          • March 25th 2014 @ 2:31pm
            Mango Jack said | March 25th 2014 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

            The skill required is proportional to the position of the kicker in relation to the goal posts. If we want to fairly reward skill, give 1 point for a field goal within the 22, 2 points to half way, then 3 points over half way. Doesn’t take into account angle, I know.

          • March 26th 2014 @ 3:30am
            Shop said | March 26th 2014 @ 3:30am | ! Report

            Rhino, I most admit to watching the Larkham drop goal over and over. Perhaps not one of your favourites though.

          • March 26th 2014 @ 3:14pm
            Archer said | March 26th 2014 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            I think difficulty is irrelevant. It’s not had to make up difficult things to do in a rugby pitch. It’s really a question of how you want a drop goal to function in the game. Most people see it as a way of breaking deadlocks and for that one point seems enough. Four points and it could change how the game is played. You wanna see more drop kicks then make it plus one point if you use one for kicking what would ordinarily be a place kick. Scoring tries just that little bit closer in would be really worth it.

        • March 25th 2014 @ 10:14am
          Roos-Tah said | March 25th 2014 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          That’s not necessarily true. It simply means you have to compensate in other areas.

          Personally, I think all kicks should be worth 2 points. This would make penalties and field goals less than 3rd of a converted try, so they would be less likely to be taken and yes, would encourage more infringing. So to counter that, you should have a more strict yellow card regime. Basically, make it so two consecutive ruck infringements within your half earned you a yellow card. That would smarten teams up a bit.

          • March 26th 2014 @ 2:39am
            Tane Mahuta said | March 26th 2014 @ 2:39am | ! Report

            Awesome, more send offs.
            I know a better way to stop teams from infringing, penalties worth 3 points.

            This isnt league.

        • March 25th 2014 @ 1:53pm
          Paul Crann said | March 25th 2014 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          Sorry Johnno, it is not silly. What is silly is watching 14 or 15 penalty goal attempts that waste almost half an hour of time game after game.

          • March 25th 2014 @ 11:23pm
            Katipo said | March 25th 2014 @ 11:23pm | ! Report

            Great. Lets make all kicks at goal drop kicks (field goal, penalty and conversions ) and worth 3 points. That’ll reduce the time taken for place kicks at goal….

            But seriously the main rule I would change is at scrum time – stop the defending half-back coming around and interfering with ball. They aren’t allowed to do that at lineouts or breakdowns, because it’s offside, so why at scrums? It’s hard enough to get a platform these days without the defending halfback interfering with the ball – stay behind the last feet son like the rest of your back line.

            While I’m at it if lineouts are non-contested the lineout shouldn’t be pulled up for technical infringements eg not straight or numbers. Contest the ball or lose the rights to win it.

            • March 27th 2014 @ 5:04pm
              clarkeg said | March 27th 2014 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

              The halfback is required by law to stay behind the ball in the scrum. However this is just one other area of the game that is mostly ignored by referees.

          • March 25th 2014 @ 11:49pm
            Johnno said | March 25th 2014 @ 11:49pm | ! Report

            Well Paul, great then under your ideas of cutting points back for penalties. Here’s what would happen under your rugby model.

            -Penalties per game would go up and you know what that equals “more stoppages and less rugga”. The only sound we’d here all match is the “music of the ref”s whistle”. Not any big hits noise, or crowd hearing or boos. Only boos from the ref.

            -If the team knows it will only lose 1 or 2 point for a penalty goal, far more likely to do a cynical penalty. And then we’d have more kicking not less, endless line-outs.

            -Rugby league teams sometimes just give away a cynicial penalty to have a breather and a rest. Knowing they will only conceed 2-points. And the RL goal-kickers are not as good as penalty points are worth less. The defensive team gives a penalty away, kick for touch a little rest. Great cut back the fittness levels for rugby union too.

            In rugby you don’t want to give away a penalty, as you know so many good goalkickers can put 3 over anywhere within 50m now. So proffessional fouls get cut down. I would support though a shot-clock which i think they now have, and time off after goal is kicked and play re-starts.

            • March 26th 2014 @ 2:44pm
              Buk said | March 26th 2014 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

              Katipo – good idea. Would open up game, and exactly what skilful addition to the game is being able to push/shove/get in the way of an opposition halfback while he is going for the ball?
              At the same time have touch judges much more involved in policing the off-side line at rucks, mauls, scrums etc. Its a joke watching all the cribbing forward that takes place behind the ref’s back, that robs back play of another yard or so of room.

      • March 25th 2014 @ 4:04pm
        clarkeg said | March 25th 2014 @ 4:04pm | ! Report


    • March 25th 2014 @ 3:47am
      Daws said | March 25th 2014 @ 3:47am | ! Report

      “The two most impressive wins were the Brumbies against the Stormers and the Bulls scoring two tries to one to defeat the previously unbeaten Sharks at the bullpit of Loftus Versfeld.”
      Surely the Force were on par with these if not bettered them? I mean they just equalled their best run of wins ever and beat the premiers of the last two years in the process!

      • March 25th 2014 @ 10:04am
        Crazy Horse said | March 25th 2014 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        The Force held the reigning Champions tryless whilst scoring two tries (3 but for an unlucky foot in touch) themselves. If that isn’t impressive I don’t know what is. Certainly far more impressive than the Brumbies win over the the Stormers which had a great deal of luck involved.

    • March 25th 2014 @ 3:51am
      Johnno said | March 25th 2014 @ 3:51am | ! Report

      A good start but it could of gone more structured.
      Balmain/Sydney Uni have sort of taken the team-role of Sydney City- Advertising as sydney stars. Inner-west, and CBD.
      They are cashed up. Balmain have some rich backers/as does sydney uni. Balmain are playing at Leichardt oval now this year the 1st grade side in rugby union, so a step up. Seems inner-west is more rugby union, than rugby league now.

      What would be perfect set up would be
      East Sydney
      Northern Sydney
      West Sydney
      Southern Sydney
      Sydney stars (syd uni/balmain)
      Central Coast Rays

      Rest Of OZ:
      2 teams from QLD(Brisbane)
      1 Canberra
      1 Melbourne
      1 Perth
      1 Adelaide

      12-teams โ€“ 5 team final series, or at least a 4-team final series.
      NSW country makes no sense as a team, if it’s in Moore Park base with Easts/Randwick connection.
      -It should just be Central Coast Rays, or have a team at Newcastle eg Hunter Pirates type name

      • March 25th 2014 @ 8:49am
        Loyal Tah Fan said | March 25th 2014 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Johnno I live in the inner west (summer hill) and think the area is probably more of a soccer area than anything these days. I get funny looks wearing a tahs jersey around. Plenty of people wearing European soccer shirts around.
        I think having 12 teams would dilute the talent too much and take away from the idea of the third tier.
        Carn the Rams, pirates, tahs and wallabies.

      • March 25th 2014 @ 12:25pm
        Zero Gain said | March 25th 2014 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        Talk about acting out a stereotype Johnno!

    • Roar Guru

      March 25th 2014 @ 7:06am
      Charging Rhino said | March 25th 2014 @ 7:06am | ! Report

      Good write up Spiro. We all hope that the NRC is a huge success and wish it the best of luck!! It’ll be great for Australian rugby.

      I don’t agree with all your suggested law changes, I reckon it’ll be more helpful for the players themselves to simply play under the set IRB rules, and far less confusing for fans too!! But some may be adaptable etc.

      I do agree on your stance for neutral refs (of a high competence) in Super rugby and the perceived bias that goes along when a ref is taking charge of a game with a home team in the home country.

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