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Opinion

My rugby union manifesto

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Roar Guru
10th May, 2022
55

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’ve written sporadically here, mostly when something gets my dander up.

But this is just a random distillation of my thoughts about the way that the game should be played, whether or not people want to speed it up, dumb it down, change the rules (ergo, the laws), or however they may want to tinker.

Let’s get the debate going. I’m sure that there is more that people want to add.

Here is my manifesto.

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1. Rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes. A given. The ultimate motherhood statement. One of the foundation stones. No further comment needed.

2. Rugby is a simple game that becomes complicated by people who don’t understand it.

3. It is only a game for spectators up to a point. It is not meant to be tinkered with, just because some people (who may or may not have played it) want to see it sped up or worse – dumbed down.

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4. The laws are not made by nor governed by or for Australia. Other people, in countries that are not dominated by other competing codes, make the rules. The more recent ones are good for the game, without ruining it as a contest.

Tom Banks of the Brumbies in action.

(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

5. If it’s not as free flowing or exciting as competing codes, we need to suck it up.

6. You can’t win a game if you play at the wrong end of the field.

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7. If you can’t break the defensive line, find a way past it, or find a way to bend it.

8. If you need to kick to the other end, find grass, or find the line, or try to hit the catcher before he can play it.

9. If you must kick high you have to chase.

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10. Box kicks must have a purpose.

11. The chase has to be balanced. That is where the gaps start to appear.

12. I hate the rolling maul, except when it’s the Brumbies scoring from it. Hookers are fast becoming the highest try scorers!

13. The whole mantra of our game is pressure in the contests, whether that be running, rucking, mauling, tackling, taking the ball into contact, kicking, catching, the scrum and the lineout.

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14. Attacking pressure means turning the screw with accuracy and precision.

15. You have to earn the right to go wide – whatever that means. I think it’s one of those motherhood phrases that causes more doubt than certainty for players.

As long as good nines and tens understand it, she’ll be right! I would hate to see it become like rugby league with formulaic phase play. The game has to flow and be unpredictable.

Tane Edmed of the Waratahs passes the ball during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between the Waratahs and the Fijian Drua at CommBank Stadium on February 18, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

16. Defensive pressure means having the mindset of doing absolutely everything necessary to get the ball back (without getting up the ref’s nose).

17. Every phase is a contest to apply maximum pressure.

18. Every contest won is a victory. The team with the most victories usually wins.

19. We are a team. We all have a job. We play for each other.

20. We talk and communicate.

21. The referee is always right, even when he’s not. Somebody should sew up their pockets.

22. Beyond all, the main objects of the game are to work up a thirst to enjoy the moment with your mates post game, and make lasting friendships.

23. But wait, there’s more! Your thoughts?

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