At the Bottom of a Ruck, NYC – The IRB masterminds are out to tinker with the game again. No, Michael Scully, they are not doing away with electrical tape. (Scully is an avid rugby fan who brought this up on Facebook) Courtesy of Grant Cole and Rugbyworld mag, it appears that they wanna make pens and drop goals worth 2 points and conversions 3 points. If you are not sure who the two gentlemen are then you have not friend-ed us on Facebook, and you should hang your head in shame (but immediately friend us first). CLICK THIS
Forget the fact that the IRB couldn’t organize a social in a brewery for a moment and pretend they are a forward-thinking, well-oiled machine. Now consider their latest proposal: Changing Scoring. The belief is that with penalty kicks and drop-goals being dropped to 2 points and conversions being bumped up to three points, teams will stop trying to play for the penalty and keep the ball in hand.
As a serial hands-in violator (I got away with it more times than I got caught) this is to my benefit. Go to the forum on PlanetRugby.com if you wanna hear the full debate. But what I find funny about any debate on modern rugby is you will these regular complaints:
“Why don’t we just enforce the current rules at the breakdown!?!”
“Can we first Fix the scrums!?!”
“How about more referee consistency!”
“Stop tinkering with it you numbskulls!!”
“Rugby is not, I repeat is not about entertainment. Love it or leave it!”
Occasionally however, you will hear this gem attached: “…and bring back real rucking!!!”
What is real rucking you ask? Real rucking hearkens back to a time before this century. To the time when bad meant bad and not good. When the rugby studs on the rugby boots were made of the same material as the studs on the field, hard metal.
Back then a flanker could be found with his match-day boots in hand swinging them like a pendulum as the studs grazed the concrete. He was preparing to take a piece out of his opponent, literally. Old school rucking included stepping over, on, on top and through the man lying on the wrong side of the ball. Some Old Boys saw it as a way to ensure the opponenent never killed the ball, as there would be hell to pay.
Unfortunately, defenders wore rake marks on backs and shoulders (and my ear, once) as reward for the toil. Tempers would flare; one guy grabbing another guy by the collar and confirming the post-match menu was to his liking.
So the IRB and its refs stepped in and decided to police the breakdown with vigor. So much so that the tactics of old became illegal, to ensure fair play and also easier viewing for the novice fan. But I miss it!
In this era of professionalism there will be no more jerseys with proper collars. Instead, there will be more jazzy and colorful jerseys. There will be no need for teammates to remind you the night before a match is Sunday night (an old term for staying sober on a night off) – current players get morning after match-day breathalyzers to make sure they didn’t get over-served in the Mike Tindall sense.
Our game has moved forward and the laws coming down are meant to improve the pro game and subsequently, the amateur game below it. We must also entertain to get new followers and change comes at a cost. This is part of the cost.
But fear not friends. While they may take real rucking away, they will never take away our craftiness to cheat in other ways!!
Stay low, drive over and have a Happy New Year – starting in Samoa!!!