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Referees to get stricter as tackle and scrums laws amended

Go back to the old laws regarding the maul and the problems you cite go away. And I will cite a very extreme example of what can happen. There was a try scored in a match that was on this site recently, the video that is (I think it was in the Under 20 WC), and when a truck and trailer started near the opponent's goal, no defenders joined the maul. It was quite hilarious to see four or five forwards, all bound together, running ahead of the ball carrier at the rear with no one on the opposition bound on, and it was an easy try. I guess the defenders were not defending to see if they could induce the referee to judge obstruction or sheparding having taken place. There was no such call. Try awarded.
Well, I am from an earlier era of play, when the idea was to get in support of the ball carrier, not ahead as some sort of "clearer-outer."

3 Days, 7 Hours ago

Henry Speight banned for five weeks for dangerous flip on Juan de Jongh

I think this sort of play has resulted from how so much of the game has evolved over the last few decades. Setting up phase play is certainly an important part of the game, but really, when a ball carrier goes to ground with the ball so often, "clearing out" is bound to happen, whether it's obstruction (the defender wasn't bound on to anyone near enough to the 'ruck,') or whether the clearing out is deemed dangerous by a referee.
I've been watching matches from some previous eras, which one can do because of You Tube. It's amazing to see the ball kept alive, whether through the forwards or a combination of backs and forwards, or forwards finally getting the ball out to backs, in international matches and first class matches in previous decades to the last few. Sure, much of the time someone finally gets tackled, with the ensuing maul or ruck forming (and most all forwards 'all in'), and therefore phase play ensues. But the ball is kept alive so much more by what I would refer to as inter-passing amongst backs and forwards. And there's rarely obstruction, because the aim of the players with the ball is to get behind in support, not ahead of play to block off defenders (this is rugby, not American football!). Check the France-Wales match of 1969, or the New Zealand-British Isles first test in 1971. Lots of passing, lots of exciting movements and play, and rarely someone just "going to ground" with the ball. And that passing is so often vertical, not horizontal as in passing the ball out wide. How the game indeed has changed!

3 Days, 8 Hours ago

Japie Mulder's perfect tackle on Jonah Lomu in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final

I'm in California. And that's the state where rugby is strongest, because it does have a long history here, as 100 years ago it was being played, not American football, that is until 1915, when University of California and St. Mary's, ironically enough (they currently are the co-national champs in rugby), decided to switch to American football for the fall season, leaving two key schools with less competition: Santa Clara and Stanford. By 1918 rugby was toast in California, as nationalism surrounding America's entry into WW1 meant rugby was considered foreign and not worthy of playing. By 1920 American football once again got its former position back that it had prior to 1906 in California as a major sport. Rugby in the decades since became a minor sport, and it was only fortunate that enough former players were still around in 1920 to field that Olympic winning side, and four years later still enough veteran players, with some new players who had to learn the game, to win again in '24.
In 1995 there was much publicity in America surrounding the World Cup. Part of this was furnished by the fact that a "basic" cable channel, the International Channel, was broadcasting the matches, and had indeed broadcast the 5 Nations the previous winter.
So plenty of people were able to catch the games on their cable TV subscription for no extra charge, as would happen by the 1999 WC when Fox Sports World had already supplanted the International Channel from broadcasting rugby matches in America, and it cost more money to get that "premium" channel! I imagine plenty of Americans didn't want to pay more money just to get that channel, when a few years previously they could watch matches for a lower price on their basic cable subscriptions. I blame this in part for a fall-off of people even knowing about the sport. Rugby is just not easily found on TV, excepting that the USA-NZ match was televised live last November, competing against televised American football games.

1 Week, 1 Day ago

New ASICS Springbok Jersey launched to give players a performance advantage

So, let me get this straight: the shirt is worn with the tail out, as is the fasion, which can be grabbed. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of making a shirt that is hard to grab around the torso? And all this so-called technology, making a shirt out of chemicals instead of natural fabrics. I just don't buy it. And it looks nothing like a traditional rugby shirt. Fake collars just look damn stupid.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

Japie Mulder's perfect tackle on Jonah Lomu in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final

Yes, Mulder probably was a bit larger than the average center. Lomu was way bigger than the average wing. There's some irony in that a year later, when New Zealand won a test series for the first time ever in SA, Wilson and Osborne were the All Blacks' wings.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

Japie Mulder's perfect tackle on Jonah Lomu in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final

I know a few South Africans (women) who live near me. We were talking about this match two weeks ago at a local bar/restaurant. They couldn't believe it's already been twenty years. I saw the game live at the time, at a bar/restaurant that opened at 6am, and it was packed with ruggers, many Pacific Islanders who were cheering for New Zealand to win this game. My three outstanding memories are the pushover try that was disallowed by the referee, which would have given South Africa lots of momentum early on, and the obstruction call on Osborne late in the match when he ran in front of one of his backline mates after a dummy pass, near enough to opposition players to warrant the call. That penalty was huge, as New Zealand had control of the ball just within South Africa's half, and looking likely to penetrate further. Stransky's winning drop kick would be the other standout memory.
About this match, it was televised live in the USA. There was a lot of media attention at the time, and talk of rugby really taking off in this nation because the WC had gotten live matches televised (most early in the morning hours), and fairly decent numbers watching. I'd say rugby really hasn't become any more popular over the twenty years as it was then. American football and soccer get way more coverage, along with baseball and basketball. There's been just a few ads on ESPN regarding the up-coming WC.
With all the head concussion issues regarding American football, that sport is really watching its back as high school players are being held back from playing by parents. When this issue comes up in the media, soccer or lacrosse are the given alternatives, not rugby.

1 Week, 2 Days ago

Referees to get stricter as tackle and scrums laws amended

Yes, it's been awhile since referees at first class rugby level really applied the straight down the middle of the front row feed law. How often does a scrum half even slightly turn toward his own scrum and spins the ball well under, even behind, the hooker's boots? Nick Farr was a pro at it.

2 Weeks, 1 Day ago

Referees to get stricter as tackle and scrums laws amended

It happened in '91. Players, especially forwards, were warned about barging into rucks, going past the ball and falling over, the so-called "over the top."

2 Weeks, 1 Day ago

Referees to get stricter as tackle and scrums laws amended

How often do you see scrum halves feed their second row and there's no call? Lots of times is the correct answer. As a ref I'm sure I've allowed a scrumhalf throwing the ball in with a slight spin towards his own hookers feet, and it's not so much I'm allowing that than a scrum half being quick enough and clever enough not to make it obvious. There's that "fine line" between what can be okay and not okay. How often, though, does a scrum half actually even turn slightly toward his own scrum, throws it in practically behind his hookers boots, and gets away with it? Much too often.
Years ago players didn't jump up in the air so much to retrieve high kicks. Fullbacks used to turn a shoulder toward the opposition, and jumping just wasn't that common. In more recent times this jumping has become the way to play an up and under. Perhaps jumping for a ball in the air needs to be examined. Ban it? Maybe!

2 Weeks, 1 Day ago

Referees to get stricter as tackle and scrums laws amended

I didn't see anything regarding "truck and trailer," but that is something that needs to be banned. It is a play out of the early days of American football, circa 1890's early 1900's, the "flying wedge." It was banned in American universities in 1906, which corresponded with the decision in California to drop American football altogether and play rugby.
Let's have a return to the old laws regarding mauls, where the ball carrier was pushed forward by his side, as he (she) was the spearhead of the maul, and only channeled the ball back when the maul became static. This moving screen of players (truck), in front of the ball carrier (trailer) is counter to the spirit and laws of rugby.

2 Weeks, 1 Day ago