Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Let's call time on wasted scrum minutes

Scrums distinguish the game from others. Photo / Richard Robinson
Scrums distinguish the game from others. Photo / Richard Robinson

Crouch, touch, set, RESET.

The game within the game, one which warms the blood of many veterans but boils it for many spectators.

About 20 of those contests were on show at Eden Park on Saturday as the All Blacks and France squared off under the officiating gaze of Wayne Barnes and his assistants.

Scrums distinguish the game from others and separate players with the ability to work in that complicated set piece arena and around the field.

Something has to happen about the minutes they take out of matches and more debate is needed about the penalties for infringements. Are they really worth a full arm punishment or just a free kick for every infraction?

Referees do have options like sin binning players for repeated infractions or awarding penalty tries.

Referees have a restricted view of scrum illegalities while their assistants do not get an unimpeded look from the sideline and cannot be relied on for an opinion.

More importantly, rugby administrators have to consider the time being wasted on sets, resets, discussions with the referees, slips on poor turf and so on.

It's time to stop the clock when a scrum is called and when it is successfully concluded, wave time on. Crowds will not get exasperated at the amount of time being consumed by the 16-man struggle and can get more value for their money.

- NZ Herald

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Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

The latest commentary and analysis from senior rugby writer Wynne Gray. Wynne has been covering the All Blacks for more than 27 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

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