Pundits not convinced by new Super Rugby laws

  • February 17, 2023

A new Super Rugby Pacific season is upon us and as the final weekend of preseason matches kicks off, fans are hoping the recently announced law changes will have a positive influence on the speed of the game and enjoyment of the Super Rugby experience as a whole.

Further clarification on just how those rules will impact the game was sought after at Super Rugby Pacific’s launch event, which was forced to become a Zoom call as Cyclone Gabrielle battered the North Island of New Zealand this week.

However, takeaways from the Zoom call were minimal said Kiwi sports journalist Jamie Wall, who summarized the event by saying “There was nothing to be learnt” before elaborating on why he thinks the law changes will have little impact.

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“I personally am not reading too much into these supposedly revolutionary new laws,” Wall told The Platform. “The ones about the timekeeping are actually already laws, the referees just haven’t been enforcing them very well.

“I don’t think the other ones are going to make that much of a difference anyway just with the cards, all they’re doing is attempting to tidy up what’s a very, very messy area around the disciplinary role of the referee and the TMO.

“What they should be doing – and what they basically admitted that they want to do on a separate Zom call – is that they want to copy the NRL ‘bunker’ and have some sort of report system and that’s effectively what they’ve kind of done here, which is by making it so the referee can only just flash a yellow card and then have it dealt with by the TMO off the field. They’ve kind of created an in-game report system.

“So that’ll be kind of interesting but at the same time I don’t think it’s going to alter the way the game is played particularly much.

“But, I can tell you one thing; we’re all going to have our stopwatches out whenever someone’s taking a shot at goal because this has just put a target on the referee’s heads – another one – of something they can potentially screw up.”

Perhaps the most intrigue the launch event generated was for another media session with the Crusaders’ coach Scott Robertson, who dropped a bombshell in his previous press appearance by hinting at his All Blacks appointment and its imminent announcement.

New Zealand Rugby was quick to correct the record, releasing a statement that no announcements were on the horizon.

Amidst more criticism of their rumoured plans to announce a new All Blacks coach prior to September’s World Cup, New Zealand Rugby may also be deciding on whether to approve Robertson’s request to coach the Fiji national team, as reports claim the role has been offered to the six-time Super Rugby champion.

Robertson was playing his cards close to his chest at the event and so answers nor further speculation was offered.

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