Wynne Gray 's Opinion

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Plenty of scope for changes to rules

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Ewen McKenzie. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Ewen McKenzie. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Aussies are urging fans to come up with rule changes they want in their sparkling new domestic rugby championship.

Suggestions will be trimmed by a panel of Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie, former coach Bob Dwyer, referee Wayne Erickson and Fox sport commentator Rod Kafer before a public vote on the shortlist.

Of course there is one rather large fly in the ARU balm. Any experimental changes will have to be cleared by the IRB before they can be used for the late August start to the competition.

But forget that roadblock, let's go along with the idea and ponder some changes that could be incorporated from the start of the ITM Cup.

Let's limit the list to 10 law changes.

1. We'll start by engaging the audience, especially those who pay to attend matches. The referee and touchies should be miked up so they can tell us about their decisions.

2. Tacklers and their victim should be ruled out of play and barred from touching the ball or crawling metres to buy time. That will force teammates to come to their aid and free up more space on the field.

3. The ball should be the offside line right across the field, and the mysterious "gate" at the breakdown should be abolished.

4. Defenders should be held 5m back from rucks, mauls and breakdowns to give sides room to plan and mount decent attacks.

5. Stop the clock for scrums and any kicks at goal-these episodes are taking too much time out of games.

6. Let's allow nine substitutes. Only injury or blood bin changes should be allowed in the opening quarter, then a limit of three in each of the last three quarters.

7. Perhaps we should allow quick scrums if quick throw-ins are permitted.

8. Opposing teams must wear very different jerseys to avoid some of the uniform clashes that have blighted the Super 15.

9. Officials must be firmer on forward and the euphemistic "flat" passes that create space but are illegal.

10. Front rows should deal with the scrum engagements and referees should rule on their legitimacy.

Rule 11: Those who think these rule changes have some merit or need refinement, or who have better big picture ideas, send your ideas to the NZRU or ARU for approval.

Rule 11a. Don't hold your breath on either side of the Tasman waiting for some change.

- NZ Herald

Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

NZ Herald senior rugby writer Wynne Gray has been covering the All Blacks for almost 25 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

Read more by Wynne Gray

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