KSA Shark ©

Do the new laws make the game better?

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 22 Apr 2010 at 14:43
Tagged with : ,

André Watson, South Africa’s refereeing boss, has produced some figures and comments about the ‘shape of the game’ in view of the law changes and particular areas of focus this year.

The areas of focus have been the Big Four – the scrums, the tackle and the obligation of the tackler to release the tackled player and get out of the way, obstruction, especially at line-outs and kick-offs, and offside after kicks.

Watson’s figures suggest a more attractive game – which may or may not be a better a game, unless one first determines the game priorities – players or spectators – who comes first. There is no doubt that at the ‘elite’ level spectators in all their forms are probably a priority, especially in Australia where the game struggles against Aussie Rules, Rugby League and soccer for spectators and hence revenue.

One of the blights on the game, making it less pleasant to play and a lot less pleasant to watch has been the resetting of the scrum. There was also lots of criticism on the amount of kicking last year, some of it attributed to the slow production of ball from the tackle, some to offside by chasers which made counterattack less attractive.

Watson has the following figures for the Super 14 in 2009 and then in 2010, each after 10 rounds and 63 matches:

Reset scrums

2009: 353; average 5,36 [per match
2010: 262; average 4,15 per match

That is an improvement of 25%

Kicks in general play

2009: 4 128; average 64,50
2010: 2 977; average 47,25

That is 28% fewer kicks.

Penalties at the breakdown

2009: 1 088; average 17
2010: 863; average 13.7

There is a drop of 20% in the number of penalties at the breakdown.

Penalties at scrums

2009: 285; average 4,45
2010: 277; average 4,4

There is no great difference.

Total penalties and free kicks

2009: 1 696; average 26,5
2010: 1 419; average 22.52

There has been a drop of 16% in the number of penalties and free kicks.

Tries scored

2009: 334; average of 5,21 tries per match
2010: 359; average of 5,69 tries per match

There have been 9% more tries scored in 2010.

Watson makes the following comments

Reset Scrums.

a. Though the number of resets is 25% down, there is little change in scrum sanctions
b.  It would be fair to say that the penalties/freekicks/at scrum are now more accurate
c. The responsibility has shifted to the players to take ownership of legal scrums.

Kicks in general play

a. There is 28% less kicking.  Is less kicking out of hand better or worse?
b. Certainly the enforced kicking (because of offside players advancing) is far less than last year.
c. More space is created for players who catch kicks as the ‘offside’ players are kept back with 2010’s application.

Penalties at the breakdown (Tackle/Ruck/Maul)

a. It is down by 20% even though the tackler is being sanctioned with almost zero tolerance.
b. Is the game faster? Yes.
c. Is the attacking team allowed more than the defending team? Is it still a fair contest at breakdown? These are fair questions which need to be answered.

Total penalties and free kicks.

a. These are down 16% despite the initial fears of more penalties at the beginning of the season.


There has been an increase of 9% even though people initially thought that penalty kicks at goal would increase with an increased number of penalties.

Article courtesy of Rugby 365


  • Total penalties and free kicks

    2009: 1 696; average 26,5
    2010: 1 419; average 22.52

    Man that is hard to believe. I certainly think it looks like there are MANY more than before. :shock:

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.04.10 14:46:57 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • NO !!!!!!!! whyu they had to improve on perfection i dont know :evil:

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.04.10 15:06:27 by Treehugger Reply
    TreehuggerUnder 21 player
  • Sorry not whyu, but why oh and bring back rucking.

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.04.10 15:07:30 by Treehugger Reply
    TreehuggerUnder 21 player
  • I like the “new” application of the laws. It does favour the attacking team, but the defending team still stands a fair chance of winning the ball by legally rucking over the ball and staying on their feet. The only thing that I feel is lacking is consistency by the referees.

    Also, reset scrums are rubbish. They really need to find another way. It just makes the game drag, and is horrible to watch.

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.04.10 15:46:33 by jackal Reply
    jakkalasVodacom Cup player
  • @Treehugger (Comment 3) : Rucking will sort out the game ten fold. The problem is the bunny-huggers who fear injury. I can tell you that if faced with a bootfull of studs, you’ll get the hell away from the ruck quickly.

    And last week’s game between the Sharks and Lions produced plenty of blood. IN fact every game does.

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.04.10 16:09:16 by Baldrick Reply
    BaldrickCurrie Cup player
  • Scrums should be sooooo easy to fix. Here is my suggestion from way-back: 1 let both packs bind without a hit. 2 zero pushing before ball is fed 3 keep the rest about straight scrummaging etc. Maklik ;-)

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.04.10 16:10:39 by The Brand Reply
    Currie Cup player
  • Those stats go a long way to explaining why the uncreative Sharks are struggling.

    The game has moved on, but we have not.

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.04.10 17:59:05 by Big Fish Reply
    Big FishAssistant coach
  • There is a drop of 20% in the number of penalties at the breakdown. …..all 20% has probably been accumulated during the ‘Saders games. :twisted:

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.04.10 18:16:59 by FireTheLooser Reply

    FireTheLooserAssistant coach
  • I’ve liked the rule adaptations this season. I was worried that we might see high scoring, loose games every week, but that has not been the case. There was a view exceptions, but mostly due to horrid defense (Yes, the Lions!)

    I think the reason that drop in the penalty count is so hard to believe is because last season, most infringements were blown as free kicks……….

  • Comment 9, posted at 23.04.10 08:38:19 by MB1810 Reply

    Under 21 player
  • @MB1810 (Comment 9) :

    That is what I thought initially but then if you look at the stats below, if you include the Free kicks the drop is almost as big. :shock:

    Total penalties and free kicks

    2009: 1 696; average 26,5
    2010: 1 419; average 22.52

    There has been a drop of 16% in the number of penalties and free kicks.

  • Comment 10, posted at 23.04.10 08:54:04 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach

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