Australian rugby is set to return with a new attacking flare when the five-team Australian Super Rugby tournament kicks off on July 3 with seven new rules.
The rules are experimental and have been signed off by coaches, players, referees coaches and administrators, but have a distinct rugby league flare.
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Super Rugby AU has adopted the red card replacement rule and the so-called Super Time for tied matches that will be in place for the New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa domestic competition, starting Saturday in front of what is expected to be a packed house.
Australian administrators have also embraced ideas from other countries and the NRL, including goal line dropouts instead of five-yard scrums when an attacking player is held up in-goal or knock on over the tryline, golden point extra-time for draws, limits on scrum re-sets, as well as a 50/22 and 22/50, where the kicking team can earn a lineout with a kick that roles into touch, much like the NRL’s 40/20 or 20/40 rules.
There will also be a red card replacement rule with a red carded player replaced after 20 minutes, assuming a team still has substitutes left.
Hopefully the new rules can reinvigorate Australian rugby.Source:AAP
Rugby Australia Director of Rugby Scott Johnson said the rules were to add “some new attacking dimensions to the game”.
“The level of engagement was outstanding from the players and coaches involved in the process and we ended up with a set of law variations that were unanimously agreed upon by all 24 people involved,” he said in a press release.
“A couple of the variations including the 50/22 and 22/50s have been trialled previously in the NRC and we have added some principles around line dropouts to encourage more short attacking kick options near the line, and a Super Time tie-breaker in the event of a draw.
“We will also zero in on the application of law around the breakdown and scrums, trying to limit some of the down time and improve the flow of the game.
“Throughout the process we stuck to the principle that whatever we changed, the game still had to be Rugby, and nothing could compromise the Wallabies’ preparation for Test Rugby. In fact, I believe the changes we have implemented will broaden and enhance the capabilities of our players.”
The Western Force are back for the Aussie tournament.Source:Getty Images
Earlier this week, The Australian reported Former Wallaby and Australian World Rugby executive committee representative Brett Robinson that the global body wouldn’t realise some of the rules were lifted from league.
“They have been pretty accepting of them being good ideas,” said Brett Robinson, the former Wallabies backrower who is now Australia’s representative on the World Rugby executive committee. “They don’t actually see a lot of rugby league, unfortunately, so they think those ideas are ours. Rugby is a massive global game. But it is just dwarfed by AFL and rugby league within Australia.”
The new rules have been fairly well received although The Australian rugby league journalist Brent Read couldn’t help but notice the rules sounded familiar.
Sounds like they are trying to be rugby league
Wallabies prop Scott Sio said the forwards may need to improve their fitness to adjust to the added speed of the game.
“You’ve always got to spice it up when you’re trying something new, add a bit of variety,” Sio said. “And it gives the viewership something new to watch; hopefully some more exciting footy in the attacking halves, players trying something new.”
In more good news for Rugby, the sport came to a broadcast agreement with Fox Sports for the 12-week, five-team domestic tournament involving the four Super Rugby franchises and the Perth-based Western Force, while New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa will also be broadcast on Fox Sports as of Saturday June 13 for it 10-week five-team competition. The New Zealand competition will also have no restrictions on crowd numbers.
Rugby Australia is pushing for a return to international rugby for the Wallabies later this year, aiming for a four-test Bledisloe Cup series against New Zealand and a condensed Rugby Championship also involving World Cup champion South Africa and Argentina.
— with AAP
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