‘It suits our rugby’ – positive reactions to World Rugby’s rule changes

NZ Rugby high performance referee manager Chris Pollock has welcomed the new changes adopted by World Rugby, announced this morning.

The governing body made the amendments relating to offside from kicks in open play, the options available from a free-kick and the removal of ‘crocodile rolling’ a player.

Pollock said that the changes were “really positive”.

“We’ve already been doing a lot of this stuff in Super Rugby this year,” Pollock said, referring to the offside from a kick rule.

“We’ve seen shifts and changes in the way teams are playing in terms of the kick-tennis. We don’t have a lot of free kicks in the game, so that’s not going to be a huge change but when we do teams will want to play.”

The ‘crocodile roll’, or action of rolling/twisting/pulling of a player on their feet in the tackle area was a move Pollock described as “incredibly dangerous”.

England’s Jack Willis injured after a crocodile roll in a 6 Nations match.

“That’s how guys do ACLs (a type of serious knee injury). The challenge for us in the game, we still want the breakdown to still be contestable. So, from a referee’s perspective we want to make sure the guy who can get cleaned out is supporting his own weight. When he gets too low, we should be refereeing that, so then they stay high and attacking players can get under them to clean them out legally.”

Pollock was “absolutely” happy with the direction things were heading to speed the game up.

“This has been driven by the coaches, they wanted the space to be reopened up in the back field. We’ve made some really good shifts with the TMO… the TMO isn’t there to referee the game and I think in Super Rugby we’ve got that balance really good. So, I hope that’s the direction the game will keep going.”

Blues coach Vern Cotter.

Meanwhile, the changes got the seal of approval from Blues coach Vern Cotter, who said that it was “what we’re looking for”.

“I think it’ll keep the ball moving, the play dynamic. I think that’s a good shift, rather than having a set of slow resets at scrum time. It suits our rugby,” Cotter said.

His side takes on the Hurricanes in a top of the table clash Saturday afternoon at Eden Park, with both sides showing serious intent to attack. Both have scored over 350 points so far this season on their way to nine win, one loss records.

Cotter was hopeful of a good crowd in to watch the match, which kicks off at 4:35pm.

“Super Rugby has always been innovative, embracing this type of change to speed the game up, make it a better product.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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