Cody Cuxmann is a Referee at the London Society Of Rugby Football Union Referees, while studying International relations at Richmond, The American International University in London. He lives in Richmond Upon Thames but hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
LONDON, ENGLAND– As the first half of the season here comes to an end, we can see a few things that can be done more efficiently within the professional and grass-roots game. Right now, the game has an almost stop-start flow and is simply situated on not giving up as many points as the other team did. To clarify, the game is not based on which team scored more; it is about which team gave up more penalties that the other team was able to convert.
Imagine a game of more trys and less kicking, where the focus is on scoring rather than waiting for a flanker to commit a penalty so the fly-half can attempt a 50-meter kick to build up points. Yet, how can it be solved? The easy changes can come from increasing competition for the ball, by decreasing the points earned for drop-goals and penalty kicks. Making the conversion to 3 points would also be smart.
No longer would three penalty kicks be better than a converted try – you’d need four kicks to equal a converted try. The amount of kicking to the corner would increase which will then lead to more attempts at trys. It’s certainly a possibility with the IRB allowing it to be trialed in South Africa’s Varsity Cup.
The scrum is one of the other areas that can be opened up. It takes around a minute to complete a scrum and that does not even account for resets. To get these scrums to stay stable, we need to provide a contest once again. To promote this contest the ball needs to go in straight. It will allow for a more competitive game and in turn cause a want to compete for the ball instead of muddle with the other team’s ability to play the ball.
Another simple change could be changing the maul from a turnover when held up to it being given to the team moving forward. The teams should now either want to avoid mauling because of the size of a team or will want to put in more players to push it forward. This in turns opens up the backs which will allow for a more open game with more fast ball in the 15s game.
Finally, there needs to be a time limit set on the ruck. Watching the World Cup Final, the last few minutes were just New Zealand holding the ball and waiting for time to run out. If a team was forced to use the ball every 5-10 seconds, it would allow enough time to set up an offense and would also promote more open play.
Implementing any or all of the above will help open up play and allow for higher scoring and also promote the flow of the game. I’d like to see a higher-scoring brand of rugby with more open play, how about you?
Please share your thoughts and absolutely check in tomorrow with Matt Hawkins of USA Eagle 7s fame. I bet he’s in favor of opening the game up.