KSA Shark ©

The Breakdown – the eighth deadly sin


Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 17 Mar 2008 at 13:00
Tagged with :

The Vatican has drawn up a new list of seven deadly sins. The breakdown should be included in that catalogue. The collision zone remains a blight on the game, the canker of the code, the most ambiguous part in the complex set of rugby’s rules.

Wynne Gray writes in the NZ Herald that the IRB and their minions trumpeted the benefits of the experimental law variations (ELVs).

Separating the backlines and punishing sides for taking the ball back into their 22 are sensible amendments and ones which qualify for the glossy promotional brochures about making rugby easier to understand.

But the breakdown, the tackled ball area? No change there.

It is a mess, a flurry of bodies, players off their feet, playing the ball on the ground, attacking the pileup from all angles, cleaning out rivals, fringing and edging ahead of the offside line.

Watching live Super 14 matches, you need infra-red vision to catch the detail let alone understand it while couch vision gives you the luxury of close up views and equal dollops of confusion about officials’ verdicts.

“I still don’t know what is going on,” was the frank assessment from Force captain Nathan Sharpe when questioned about his comprehension of the breakdown.

Rugby is faster and has longer passages of play but it can be debated whether it is more entertaining.

So much of the play looks a duplicate of the previous move, most matches disappear in a repetitive blur of homogeneity, there is not a great deal to distinguish one game or one team from another.

The game is played at a great pace and is too fast for one referee to control effectively or interpret consistently, especially at the breakdowns. By the time the referee arrives, the damage has been done, generally by the tackler who has slowed play down enough for a teammate to further interfere.

Referees are not getting enough help from their colleagues who have had their status raised from touch judges to assistant referees but appear reluctant to help with rulings. Infringements or stoppages at scrums and breakdowns are being punished with free kicks but that is a cop out.

Players have long twigged that referees are reluctant to punish them further.

Defending teams are cynically giving up free kicks knowing they are not going to concede full penalties for professional fouls.

Attacking sides are struggling to sustain driving forward play in attacking zones – it is risky to opt for a forward presence because holdups mean a free kick to the defending team.

The discount free kick instead of full penalties for foul play, offside and persistent infringements, favours defenders and gives the impression referees are in control when many appear to be guessing and using the free kick as an escape mechanism.

Performances from referees in Hamilton and Canberra on Friday seemed to emphasise that impression. Willie Roos could not fathom the breakdowns at all but happily blew his whistle in the sort of performance which would make Schalk Burger’s blood boil faster than usual.

Meanwhile, Matt Goddard also offered confusing instructions to players at Waikato Stadium and then ruled differently. The free kick was his friend while he also gave the shoulders-and-hips spiel at scrums which earned an exasperated Eddie Jones a $10,000 fine last season.

At the time Goddard said the laws were too elaborate but he forecast beneficial alterations.

“Rugby does have a problem with law complexities which hopefully can be rectified in the near future with law changes aimed at taking the referee out of the equation,” he said.

That is one thing the ELVs have not managed.



17 Comments

  • “I still don’t know what is going on,” was the frank assessment from Force captain Nathan Sharpe when questioned about his comprehension of the breakdown.

    That’s cause he’s an Aussie and Cause he’s a forward. :wink:

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.03.08 14:02:14 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • Willie Roos could not fathom the breakdowns at all but happily blew his whistle in the sort of performance which would make Schalk Burger’s blood boil faster than usual.

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.03.08 14:02:41 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • Defending teams are cynically giving up free kicks knowing they are not going to concede full penalties for professional fouls

    This to me is THE SINGLE BIGGEST flaw with the ELV’s.

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.03.08 14:04:57 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • hello KSA

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.03.08 14:05:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • hello Rob.

    Been having a tough day here with the ent :evil:

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.03.08 14:08:46 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • ENT?

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.03.08 14:09:52 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • see what I mean. :lol:

    Ent = int = internet. :oops:

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.03.08 14:14:49 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
     
  • ah… I think I verstaan

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.03.08 14:25:56 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • Those Ents can be frightful when they eventually get stirred up – watch out for Fangorn in particular – he is slow to anger but fiendish when at boiling point.

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.03.08 14:54:36 by Big Fish Reply
    Administrator
    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • the referees created this mess with interpretation. they need to sort it out. time they all spoke the same language.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.03.08 15:10:50 by try time Reply

    Super Rugby player
     
  • Hoom hom

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.03.08 15:16:21 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • Funny what having kids does to you… when I see ENT I immediately think “Ear, Nose and Throat” ;)

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.03.08 15:16:51 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • I know nothing of that – if my loins have borne fruit, they are scattered far away from this particular tree.

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.03.08 15:19:01 by Big Fish Reply
    Administrator
    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • Such things have a nasty way of coming home to roost, so to speak ;)

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.03.08 15:30:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • Its how I made my living for the last 2 years, as you know Rob. :wink:

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.03.08 15:35:50 by Big Fish Reply
    Administrator
    Big FishAssistant coach
     
  • indeed… glad you are now deciding to join a respectable industry where high moral values are taken as a given.

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.03.08 15:47:57 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • Bastard! :evil:

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.03.08 15:51:51 by Big Fish Reply
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