Unfortunately money could be a reason why so many seem to drop out of rugby at a young age, before they are 25? If one isn't going to make money from it, is that person asking why play at all and risk getting hurt, because other people are playing for money, and getting hurt doesn't have the same personal risk? Participation levels are down in the sport overall. How many clubs are left, amateur clubs, with extra d or c sides? How many are having to scratch to just get 15 on a pitch on Saturday? I really regret that those who ran the sport twenty years ago failed to introduce professionalism on some sort of time table, bringing pay into the game gradually, starting with the best players first, the internationals. By now there could have been the Aviva Premiership anyway, but I'd say the participation level of the sport might not have suffered had there been a real structure set up to develop a professional game in 1995. Just saying, in August of 1995, the game is now "open" was not the way to do it. »
I agree, but you know the game is never going to go back to its total "amateur" status. Of course there were always the better players who got 'boot' money or had jobs set up for them. Most players played for not one red penny. What could have been done? If you look back there should have been allowances for the best players to become semi-professional. Pay for playing in international matches for players on the national squads would have been a good start to transition to a professional game, and that should have been done with the very first world cup. In other words, 'broken-time' pay for those leaving jobs temporarily to play the game at the highest level, and that pay could have been from the money made from ticket sales, the rear ends in seats. »
For those who played the game for the love of it we are more than likely a bit nostalgic about how the game used to be. But just how many in rugby today are fully professional players? And just how many are playing for the fun of it as amateurs? Apparently the participation level in amateur clubs is dropping, and this is a concern. I spent a weekend in early March in the West Midlands at the home of a president of a club that has existed since 1991, so a rather 'young' club, and it had two sides. Now it has one, as some better players have quit and moved up a few divisions to clubs that pay 50 quid per game, and one made it to Gloucester. If it's happening to that club, it has to be happening to other clubs. I spent the next week in Devon, meeting socially with a few referees of that union, and was told of some clubs that are down to one senior side that had two or three in the past, in Cornwall and Devon. So, if young men (and women) see that there's no chance to make any money from the sport, are they just giving it up at age 18 or 22? In other words, why bother because one might get injured playing, and not get one thin dime out of it? Is that the current attitude in the UK and other major rugby playing nations? »
The ironic thing is the team without the ball, by not BINDING, maul or ruck, are creating a case to contest and attack the ball carrier directly. Perhaps this practice is going to bring back actual contesting of ball in the loose. Counter rucking rarely occurs, and 'truck and trailer' is just legalized obstruction.
The changes in laws are going to mean that this sort of play is the result. The ball really isn't contested anymore in the loose as it used to be. And if it was, perhaps the backs might have some space again.