The Roar
The Roar

Francis Foo

Roar Pro

Joined August 2014







PLayed rugby union for university in mid 1960s to mid 70s.



Rugby commentator Peter Fitzsimons in the Sydney Morning Herald in April 2017 wrote a piece with another proposal to reduce the impact of penalty goals on the outcome of the game or rather discourage teams from kicking penalty goals especially outside the 22 mby giving less weightage to points from penalty goals.

Peter wrote;

“And while they are changing rules, the other key thing is to get rid of the endless damn penalty goals, by taking the reward for such solo ventures from three points to two points, or even just a point. As I have long said the idea that one bloke kicking from 50 metres out from straight in front – just to punish one lousy hand in the ruck – should weigh in at three-fifths the value the whole team combining to send the winger over in the corner, is ludicrous!”

Read here:

I think this is also one other option worthwhile to be considered to reduce the impact of ridiculous penalty goals for infringements from 50-60 m on the outcome of the game.

Add to this is, to include loss of territory for infringements outside the 22m to keep the game to focus on getting tries than on penalty kicks.

Here’s the thing: Haven’t we witness so often when stadium spectators clapped and cheered after the attacking team opted for a kick to touch and throw-in even close tothe opposind team’s goal line instead of taking a clear penalty shot at goal. That in itself reflects aspirations and expectations of the code’s fan base. To be entertained with anticipated drama when teams opt for tries instead of kicking for penalty goals from all over the park.

Rethinking the game's penalty rules

Brett, this article in NY Times was published just before the World Cup.

” When New Zealand Coach Steve Hansen suggested in the middle of the Six Nations that rugby was in danger of becoming boring with its showcase World Cup just months away, most people would have agreed with him.

… Up until the final weekend of Europe’s premier tournament, the games were lacking in both excitement and tries.”

Your thoughts?

Rethinking the game's penalty rules

And yes, perhaps the guardians of the code should go back to reinstituting the ELVs, since it is generally accepted by the stakeholders of the game.

Anything better than the present ridiculous penalty rulings applied to infringements…. which are making the code more like the a stop-start jerky game with loss of unnecessary time.

Fans want their teams to win, but they come or to watch in TV entertaining fast moving rugby. Long arm penalties outside the 22 line should be cut to the minimum except under severe circumstances so that we see less of having to stare at the kicker fixing his eyeballs between the posts and fiddling his body parts minutes on end all over the park.

Yes I agree to bringing back ELVs into the code if that makes the game more fun to watch and more equitable of sorts on the outcome of the game to both teams hsving to putting their bodies on the line in the paddock.

Rethinking the game's penalty rules

Brett, just to take your point on cricket, please see here:

On Australian rugby, well, Australia is a major player in international rugby. The Wallabies used to draw crowds at home and abroad.

Rethinking the game's penalty rules

i agree cynical infringement is a big spoiler of the game. That should be severely punish inside the 22 m line.

But it should not be allowed at the same time to disrupt the game with unneceesary loss of time for scrums and long shots at goal way outside the 22 m line.

How about loss of territory and a short arm penalty with a kick to touch and a throw-iin for first time offence outside the 22 m and also for REPEATED offence in the run of play, loss of territory plus a shot at goal even tside the 22 m line?

The point is code fans want to see more entertaining fast moving rugby, and the guardians of the code do keep an eye on TV viewership and gate attendance and advertisers’ $$ in that regard.

For example, Cricket has moved on with the times from its long boring game of 5 long days of Test cricket to the more popular among cricket fans the one-day game and 20/20 cricket format.This is just to keep and expand the cricket fan-base around the world and demands of TV sponsorships. The 5-day test cricket was kept alive for the puritanical cricket diehards.

Currently, the rugby union code is not making much headway to expanding its fan base, let alone keeping its fan base.

Rethinking the game's penalty rules

Yes, I like the idea of loss of territory for infringements. Itt is a good option in the mix of rewards to the opposing team for infringements, as it was introduced in Americsn football.

Nonetheless, our union code has already adopted the loss of 10 meters of territory for unnecessary talkback at the referee and for being too close to a penalty kick.

Loss of territory could be considered as a worthwhile option as gaining terroritory is one of the hardest part of the code without kicking the ball forward. If the guardians of the code are very concerned about player safety, perhaps for dangerous play, 20 m loss of terrority plus a shot at goal. Dangerous play inside 22 line, automatic yellow card and shot at goal.

For first time offence in the run of play outside 22 line, perhaps instiutute loss of territory with a scrum down OR loss of territory with the option of kick to touch and a throw-in.

Existing long arm penalty rules with a shotbat goal should apply WITHIN the 22 line to ensure both teams put serious attention to infringements, especially the tendency of both attacking and defending teams to engage in cynical infringements.

Nowadays a set scrummage which assumes equal opportunity for both sides to fight for the ball is a joke as we see half backs literally putting the ball behind their front row players and referees tend to put a blind eye to it. Might as well give the ball to the team as a short arm penalty with an option to kick to touch and a throw in, but not allowing a shot at goal.

Fair enough, set scrums are useful to allow teams to reboot tactical set play. They are part and parcel of the code.

Rethinking the game's penalty rules

Existing rules of penalty still in play within the 22 meter line.

The suggestion is with regard to the nature of reward of first time penalty offence OUTSIDE the 22 line. Where dangerous play is incurred, existing penalty rules apply.

What is suggested, excluding dangerous play, is that if the same offence is committed the secnd time around in the run of play, that will incur the long arm penalty.

I also believe, this will also give a faster flow of play outside the 22 line and less of frequent long stoppage of play waiting for kickers line up to shoot at goals for every first time offence ( other than dangerous play ) in a run of play outside the 22 line.

Much of the rules of rugby, including penalty rules, have change since the days I played competitve rugby when it was only an amateur sport in the mid 60s to late 70s back in my younger days,.. the changes had made the game so much safer, faster, and more entertaining. Some rules I was surprised were changed… but then I was told they were made partly because the game had moved from an amateur sports to being a professional sport… and onevof them, the use of TMO is an interesting one , and the code guardians interest on TV viewership and gate attendance.

These suggestions are to take the code further forward another step.

Rethinking the game's penalty rules

Not to give away a very spirited display of rugby by the Lions and as some say, it could have gone either way. But the fact remains if the French referee had stuck to his original decision, that it was indeed an off side penalty, whether accidental or not, it is a penalty shot at goal for the AB, rather than a scrum, then the outcome may not be a draw. Under the suggested revision, there won’t be any controversy if the infringement is outside the 22 metre line since it is a first time offence and a shot-arm penalty rule applies with a kick to touch and a throw-in for AB to take another shot to break the tie.

Rethinking the game's penalty rules

Pathetic display of rugby by NSW team, supposedly the home of Australian rugby, sharing that honour with Queensland Red. Where are they now compared to offshore provincial teams?

Most of the fault lie not with the players, really, but with the outdated approach of the Aussie team coaches, whose self-belief that they had the right (outdated) formula to win games from offshore teams is beyond belief.

And this inflexibility mindset seeps into the Wallaby preparation against AB and Springboks.

Haven’t they watch how the NZ and S.African provincial teams re-programmed their tactical play, and how their players’ ability to quickly adjust their tactial game plan as the game progressed minute by minute.

If you watch the NZ teams play, somehow you get the sense their players are ,CONSTANTLY THINKING with hands on the ball while their support players seem to know pretty well what the player with the ball’s option play is going to be . And their offloads in a tight situation appear so seamless. Contrast that to our Super Rugby teams and the Wallabies.

It is no wonder our pundits are so correct in saying Aussie rugby style of play is so predictable that the opponents could read it like a book 20 minutes into the game. And why the Wallabies seem to unable play the full 80 minutes of rugby when the opposing team put pressure of sorts in the last 10-15 minutes of the second half. The Aussies became clueless in defence and attack in that crucial last 10 minutes.

The fsct is we have good young players with fantastic individual skills to offer to the game. Sadly, it is th ecoaches with an inflexible mindset unable to adapt to the evolving style of play in modern-era rugby who let them down. Is it misplaced pride that prevent the Aussie coaches from learning or adopting what the chaps across the ditch are doing?

Bad to worse for Waratahs

Agreed fully. Need new ideas from a whole bunch of different set of coaches, perhaps import from NZ.

Tahs still looking for Super Rugby answers

The Waratah’s hopeless performance against the Jaguares and the loss of Aussie Super Rugby top team, ie the BRUMBIES,to the lowly Queensland Reds are an indictment of the poor state of Australian rugby.

At present, any of the Super Rugby provincial teams in NZ will either beat Wallabies or give the Wallabies a run of its money.

Chejka’s and Larkham’s tactical game plan now looks more out of place if not obsolete. Other teams have move on to olay off-load rugby and tactical kicking rugby, while Aussie rugby is still stuck obstinately to its one dimensional game of ” get the ball, rush forward, fall to the ground with the ball when tackled, and recycle it to start it all over again.” That’s it… and for some reason the Aussie players seem to lose the plot and get indecisve when fronted with open-field play and when caught in an unstructured situation, they resort to “rush-forward-fall to the ground ” style of play. And Chejka can’t see beyond that.

Tahs still looking for Super Rugby answers

In a game of fine margins, Barrett cost the All Blacks a series victory

After watching how the All Blacks stayed in the game throughout with only 14 players for about 60 odd minutes in a Test, and AB could have forced a draw and even a win in the last 15 minutes, sonit got to be said the AB was very impressive, despite the narrow loss by 3 points.The opposing team was a full strength Touring Lions, not some mickey mouse team.

That leads to the question of the chances of the Wallabies for the coming Bledisloe Cup this year and whether the Wallabies will get blown off the field facing to this current team of All Blacks players ?

After watching the Wallabies-Italy game which looked more like some off-season inter-school rugby match, the bookies will be wetting in their pants if they were made to punt for the Wallabies to beat this All Blacks team. More likely, the bet will be on how big will the margin for the All Blacks to thrash the Wallablies. Atbthis point in time, a two-digit loss by the Wallabies is considered a given.

Here is a suggestion to the ARU:. To get the crowd excited and enthused in the coming Wallabies-AllBlacks matches ( think of the $$$ at the gates ) for the Bledisloe Cup, perhaps the All Blacks coach Steve Hansen can be approached to agree for the All Blacks to field only 14 players in all games against a 15-strong Wallabies team on the field?

If the 15 member Wallabies team can beat the All Blacks in the first game, Wallabies can keep the Cup.The remianing matches to be played for pride only.

If the All Blacks win by more than 10 points, for tgevsecond match, the ARU to allow All Blacks to field only 13 plays in the first half and 14 players in the second half.

That will make the game more interesting and that will also give the Wallabies an even chance to win the Bledisloe Cup back to Australia. Its been a long time coming

Chejka can swallow his pride for a change before he moves on.

How about it? If not, we will be witnessing another year of embarassment watching the Wallabies humbled by a master class showing from the All Blacks.

All Blacks copping all the pressure in third Test

The Fijians put pressure on the Wallabies through a combination of off loads and pick and run by the forwards from lose scrums and tackles. The English team under Eddie Jones have made offloads as one of the key elements in their armoury. The Wallabies will be punished like schoolboys in the Bedisloe Cup games if Chejka and Larkham don’t wake up quickly to this fact… Defensive tactics against offloads and offensive strategies using offloads in combination with other tactics.

Highlights: Wallabies open 2017 with win, flipping Fiji 37-14

A. Creating Spaces

Israel Folau and Henry Speight are Wallabies’s scoring machines. But they can only be effective if they are given space to run and to accelerate. Izzy is devastating once he has space, so is Speight. I am not sure whether Wallabies coaches have tactics in their set pieces for other players to create space on the field for these two. Speight is a magician running along the touch lines, whereas Folau needs more width.

Fo example, All Blacks Israel Dagg is a dangerman when he is given space to run. One of the first things the Lions did in their match against the Crusaders last night was to shut down the space for Israel Dagg. He never had a chance to run more than 5 metres before they gang tackled him down or forced him to kick.

Whereas All Backs Ben Smith is more dangerous in tight spaces as he has the knack of spinning and dodging himself out of a crowd of players. I don’t see any Wallabies who has the quick presence of mind like Ben Smith to see escape routes when they are caught in a tight corner of players around them. Their first instinct id to fall to the ground with the ball.


And almost all the AllBlacks players had master the skill and art of playing OFF-LOAD RUGBY… Wallabies are still playing a one dimensional game of rushing-head first and fall to the ground with the ball to recycle without any attempt to try to off-load . Too predictable. Off-load rugby wins games, because the opponents are caught somewhat unprepared with an offload in a loose tackle and loose open play.

Wallabies coached should learn from the folks across the ditch on how to play Off-Load Rugby. In fact, Steve LArkham should know that passing-rugby is entertaining but does not win games most of the time in rugby of the modern era, nor is recycle-rugby, if you don’t develop off-load skills in the Wallabies team …for forwards especially and for the backs in particular.

Highlights: Wallabies open 2017 with win, flipping Fiji 37-14

Let’s face it, WB is THE best by a 100 miles. So nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed to learn what made them the best team. Australian coaches should swallow their pride and learn from their cousins across the ditch a thing or two or more.

When Will Genia fires, the Wallabies fire

When Will Genia fires, the Wallabies fire

Yellow carding Cooper was a bad call by Barnes and Nigel Owens. Video reruns showed both players were rushing for the ball. At the last moment Cooper found he need not tackle but unable to stop the inertia of his movement and therefore crash into the opponent. Only a penalty and a warning would be the right call by the ref and did not deserve a yellow card. UNWARRANTED CALL BY BARNES FOR A YELLOW CARD.

Highlights: Genia, Cooper lead Wallabies to second win on the trot

Nick White has a habit of kicking the ball at the wrong time. Other than that he is a better half back than Nick Phipps.

When Will Genia fires, the Wallabies fire

Nick Phipps plays like a robot with only one program activated in his brain…PASSING THE BALL, not only that, he had to be the one always telling the backline to organise themslves so that he can pass the ball cleanly behind a loose scrum or a ruck. That’s vIrtually signalling the opponent, ” hey this is where the ball is going… for you to tackle.” Why aren’t the coaches teaching him to play with vision, game reading and be more a strategic opportunist half back like Genia, Aaron Smith and de Klerk? . Even Cabellli makes a better half back than Nick Phipps. Cheika must find a new replacement as a bench backup to Genia right now.Wallabies cannot afford to depend on Genia to win games. Nick Phipps at this level of the game should know the halfback is also a game-maker.

Perhaps, George Gregan should be hired to provide one-to-one coaching to Nick Phipps on how to to be less robotic and be brave enough to vary his play strategically by looking at opportunities to run, kick and who to pass the ball.

When Will Genia fires, the Wallabies fire

Calling a spade a spade. Graham Henry is right. Take it on the chin, Australia. Australa needs new blood not only players, but the cosching team.

Current Wallabies worst I've seen: Henry

Fionn, your backline lineup looks promising.

We need a backline who knows how to evade tackles, swerve sideways, avoid tsckles instead of centres trying to lock horns with opposing players like raging bulls in a spanish bull fight ring. Just see how AB’s Barret, Ben Smith, Savea, Israel Dagg,run with the ball. The only Wallabie doing that is Folau, and Genia and Cooper. Folau needs to work on his acceleration, something Genia is really good at.

Crafting a Wallabies backline capable of scoring tries

Makes a lot of sense. It is like training a carpenter to be a cabinet-maker but instead sends him out to do the woodwork for building homes.

I agree rugby positions are specialist skills… a player usually opted himself to be trained in that position to suit not just his innate skill required in that position, but to suit also his temperament, his mindset and his unique competitive acumen.

As I said before in here, we lost 6 in a row because Cheika over fiddled with the players’s positions against what these players had been trained or played for donkey years. It wasn’t fine tuning, it was like overhauling the team make-up for each game, a working progress played during crucial matches and test matches. It was bewildering.

What it does it signals to the opposition coaches that Australian coaches are out of tteir depths.

I have played the game back in the mid sixties, and even then, rugby positions were still considered specialist positions, where changes were made minimally primarily to adjust to the strategic strength and known weaknesses of the specific player in the opposition team.

Australia must stop selecting players out of position

Time to do some blood transfusion into the Wallabies. Starting with game against the Boks, Andrew Kelloway is a revelation. I am perplexed why he is not even put on the bench. Kelloway is an instinctive player, uses his head and plays like Ben Smith. Wallabies neec more nimble runners and skills developed for off loads and how to avoid getting tackled on the run.

The old timers should be given a big thank you note and sent out to pasture or to the golf course.

Michael Cheika needs to drop half his side against the Boks - including the skipper

Agreed fully with the analysis. Wallabies style of play is too structured and does not encourage “instinctive” play from each player, THe tactical game plan does not allow players’ ingenuity in open play to improvise based on what they see and assess in front of them.

In this aspect Steve Larkham as coach is weak.

What i can be discerned from the games against tge AB, Wallabies frequently got crushed on the backfoot between 10 and 12 and behind the advantage. And given the Wallabies is notorious fori indiscipline at breakdowns, it ends up more often we give points away plenty of penalties.

Either Cheika drops this predictable one dimensional play for a more aggressive front foot open attacking option, , or he might as well look for altenative career options.

During practice sessions, don!t just aim to sharpen set plays, but to give time to players to sharpen their individusl skills and develop their own instinctive play. . Simply said, allow them to uae their brains more often during the game as they see fit. . Joe Tomane and Henry Speight are instinctive players whose running game can be further fine tuned during mock games during training

Ever changing styles of rugby culminating in mismatched Wallabies sides