Rugby365 reports that the chances of the Tri-Nations being the first Test series to use the experimental law variations improved on Wednesday when Australia’s SANZAR representatives pushed for their introduction.
Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive and SANZAR director John O’Neill said last that he had been enthused at how the variations had made an impact in the first two rounds of the Super 14 not just by speeding up the game and providing more playing space for both teams, but also by promoting physical play.
O’Neill will attend an International Rugby Board meeting in Hong Kong, where SANZAR delegates will also discuss the Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) and the future of the Tri-Nations.
Although there has been some opposition from South African players about the ELVs, the embracing response of the Australian and New Zealand Super 14 teams makes it highly likely they will be used in the Tri-Nations.
“We’re very pleased with the results, and where we are after two rounds is really encouraging,” O’Neill told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It is continuing the pattern we saw in the Shute Shield and Australian Rugby Championship that the spectacle is a lot better.
“The teams that are adapting to the new laws are using them to their advantage.
“We’re not seeing fewer scrums, but more scrums, and actually fewer lineouts,” he added.
O’Neill said if the trend continued, the clamour for the new laws to be introduced at Tri-Nations level would be “irresistible”.
“For the Tri-Nations, why would you treat it any differently to the Super 14?” he said.
“The International Rugby Board invited us to use them in the Super 14, and all they have to do is continue to invite us using them during the Tri-Nations.”
O’Neill hopes the northern hemisphere will eventually embrace the ELVs so they can be introduced worldwide.
However, he realised that even though many northern IRB officials were in favour of the laws, there remained resistance from some who “don’t want the southern hemisphere to be seen to be getting an unfair advantage.”
“At the end of the day, if we get stuck on the unfair advantage issue, they’ll never be introduced worldwide,” he said.
“At some point, the northern hemisphere will have to grab the ELVs and use them.
“And if there is an unfair advantage, it will be really temporary,” he said.Tweet