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View Full Version : New "Breakdown" Laws are heading for trouble



Ian_Cook
16-07-16, 21:07
As I posted in Christy's Offside or Play On (http://www.rugbyrefs.com/showthread.php?19821-Off-side-or-play-on) thread, there is an experimental law that will be trailed in the Mitre 10 Cup (formerly ITM Cup) this year.

They are introducing the concept of a phase of play known as a "breakdown". There will no longer be a requirement for two players (one from each team) over the ball to form a ruck and therefore an offside line. As soon as one player from either team arrives at the tackle, or if the tackler stands up and moves to his own side of the tackle, a Breakdown is formed and an offside line appears. It is an attempt to trial a form of "Offside at the Tackle" law similar to the ELV in 2008, but to delay the appearance of the offside line slightly to get around the problems experienced with that earlier ELV.

Another of the trial Breakdown Laws is that the jackler/tackler will have to release the ball if an opponent arrives and grasps him, so specialist fetchers like David Pocock, Liam Gill and Sam Cane will be largely shut out of the game.

These Laws are already being trialled in some club rugby competitions in NZ, and the consensus so far is that will be an unmitigated disaster at upper levels. Club coaches were warned to expect up to 30 penalties each game during the first couple of weeks under the trial Laws. Instead, the penalty count remained normal due to teams deciding not to contest the breakdown at all. They reported the games ended up looking like Rugby League but with a "place the ball" instead of "play the ball".

I have watched two games under the new Laws and I have to agree with those Coaches' assessments. Both games ended up with a procession of possession as it was clear that neither side were willing to risk a PK to turn over the ball. Instead, the defence lined the trenches, and the attack either tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to batter their way through the defence or kicked to the sideline for territorial gain. The only turnovers came from the occasional held up maul, dropped/forward passes and knock-ons. The latter will not happen as much at upper levels where the skills are much better.

My impression was that it looked like a cross between Rugby League with unlimited tackles and 1960's 10 man rugby. Either way, I fear that the New Zealand NPC is going to be a borefest this year. :mad:

DocY
16-07-16, 22:07
The offside lines at a breakdown don't sound too bad, but the jackler having to let go is ridiculous. Was that suggested by the English?

ChrisR
16-07-16, 23:07
My guess is that the off-side at a breakdown was trialed in response to team not contesting at a tackle so no ruck forms and therefore no off-side lines. That scenario could get very messy but I'd rather the coaches/players worked out how to deal with it first.

Agree with DocY re. the jackler. If you can't retain it once you've got then you're better off not going in leading to Ian's observation.

The Fat
17-07-16, 00:07
Praying it will be a disaster and the Mitre 10 Cup will be a bore-fest for the first 3 or 4 rounds and they quickly ditch the idea and give the guy who put forward the proposal a damn good thrashing with a wet mop.