KSA Shark ©

Eddie Jones questions ELVs

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news on 5 Mar 2008 at 08:03
Tagged with :

Eddie Jones, who coached the Wallabies to the 2003 World Cup Final and won gold at the 2007 World Cup with South Africa, has warned that the Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) are turning the game of Rugby Union into a hybrid of rival code Rugby League.

Writing in his column in the Brisbane-based The Courier Mail at the weekend, Eddie Jones warned that the ELVs could make the game “too generic” — robbing it of the distinctive characteristics that has made Union such a popular sport around the world.

While Union, as a code, continues to grow around the globe, League is restricted to a few areas — mainly Australia and the North of England, with no other countries having major competitive leagues.

“One of the best games of last year’s World Cup was the Fiji-South Africa quarterfinal in Marseilles,” Jones said in his column in The Courier Mail.

“We had the brilliant broken field rugby of Fiji competing with the structure and power of the Springboks.

“It produced seven tries.

“Both teams had successful World Cups because they played what I call ‘culturally sympathetic rugby’ — rugby suited to the country’s culture and the natural instincts of the players.

“The laws of the game in 2007 allowed teams to play in many different styles and be successful if you were good enough.

“This brings me to the experimental law variations (ELVs). My major concern is still that it will make the game too generic.

“Football codes like AFL, Rugby League and soccer have a small number of laws that allow plenty of ball movement for the spectacle.

“Rugby League, for instance, took the contest out of the scrum and stopped raking the ball at the play-the-ball where Wally Lewis once stole key possessions. “Stripping the ball has been eliminated.

“This has made League a faster-moving game but has also made it predictable. “You now win by field position and completing sets. By simplifying the laws of Rugby (Union) we run the same risk.

“Take the World Cup. England beat Australia by taking the game at the scrum and breakdown. Argentina beat France through kick-chase expertise. France upset New Zealand by dominating the ruck and the ‘Boks beat England in the Final by controlling the line-outs.

“At first view, the ELVs have elevated the importance of unstructured attack and some games seem an endless stream of free kicks. This favours sides with powerful, instinctive athletes, which is why the Blues and Crusaders are looking unbeatable in Super 14 right now.

“Furthermore, the ELVs encourage sides to cheat. The Waratahs look happy to give away a free kick on engagement on the opposition’s scrum ball to negate the potential gains for the attacking team exploiting a defence standing five metres back from the scrum.”

SW Note: Thanks to Bryce for this article


  • next thing he’ll be questioning fairies and pixies. he is obviously running out of ideas and is broadening his research.

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.03.08 08:07:36 by try time Reply
  • TT

    I completely agree with what Jones says.

    ESPECIALLY his last comment. the ELVs encourage sides to cheat

    Sides are quite happy to give away free kicks in their own half or own 22 for holding onto the ball in the ruck. Under the old Laws it would have been a penalty and in all probability 3 points.

    It is almost as if the Burgers, McCaws, Waughs and Smiths of the world got together and decided they should come up a solution for the frequent penalties they give away to have less of an effect on the outcome of the game and then slip that solution into the new Laws.

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.03.08 08:15:59 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • The Waratahs look happy to give away a free kick on engagement on the opposition’s scrum ball to negate the potential gains for the attacking team exploiting a defence standing five metres back from the scrum.”

    That’s one of the reason Why Jones has been so successful as a coach.
    WHO else has thought of this way of negating the very ELV that many say is one of our problems in SA?
    NOT being able to defend effectively becasue we have to stand 5m back at the scrums.

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.03.08 08:19:19 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Still can’t make up my mind about these ELV’s 🙄 will give it until the end of the S14. Eddie does have a point though but NH might just throw a spanner in the works! Would have been a good idea to add an additional player on the bench with the ELV’s 😕

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.03.08 08:19:20 by shark-tank Reply
  • KSA, I think you will find more cards than before, becasue ongoing cynical play will be penalised heavily. Danie Rossouw got his marching orders, and I wonder if that would have been the case before the ELVS were introduced? Or was it just a ref’s call?

    It was the right one nonetheless in my thinking.

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.03.08 08:19:29 by hellbent Reply
  • ksa sides will always cheat. it is how the referees handle the game that matters. penalties will be awarded for continuous infringing and if the referee doesn’t police it properly the laws won’t work. but i also feel the elvs will make it easier for referees so they cannot hide behind interpretations and will be more accountable.

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.03.08 08:20:33 by try time Reply
  • hello hb long time no see.

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.03.08 08:21:26 by try time Reply
  • HB

    It was the right call IMO as well.

    Let’s work on the assumption that the ref will give a yellow after the 3rd offence that he deems cynical or repeated.

    So each team then has a minimum of three get out of jail free cards. And then add to that that the ref will not see every offence as deliberate or cynical.
    Suddenly you have a team with an oppertunity of saving themselves 4 or 5 times and NOT get a card or a penalty.

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.03.08 08:23:33 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • actually hell would have to be bent to fit into a spherical earth. if it was straight it would stick out on the surface. and that would mean hell boiling over.

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.03.08 08:24:57 by try time Reply
  • ksa no different to the old laws. how often does richie mccaw get away with illegal tactics. no the laws are more clear cut and he will get penalised a lot more.

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.03.08 08:26:46 by try time Reply
  • ST

    I ALMOST believe the laws should be assesed individually even though they will affect the match as a set of ELV’s.

    Some are good and some are bad.
    I like the fact that you may throw in skew at the LO if the LO is not formed.
    I don’t like the fact that you only get a FK for ruck infringements OTHER than coming in from the wrong position.

    let’s hope the ELV’s are not adopted as a WHOLE but rather as individual laws.

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.03.08 08:27:34 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • I would like to see all the refs getting together at a certain point (halfway or even earlier in the S14) and discusssing the impact of the ELVs and where the problem areas are, and what could be tightened up? Then report back to the public and use it for themselves to better manage the game. Even get the 14 coaches on a conference call and tell them to sort out certain aspects (Bulls stop killing the ball, Crusaders, Richie is cheating too much, Bulls, cut out the punching, Bulls, cut out the Spear tackles, Bulls, learnt o play open rugby). You get the drift.

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.03.08 08:32:38 by hellbent Reply
  • HB


  • Comment 13, posted at 05.03.08 08:34:36 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • ksa, they are being looked at individually. andre watson said that is what will happen. although i disagree i have preferred the free kick at rucks as the game doesn’t stop after every ruck due to a penalty. the free kick means the ball is back in play faster and referees aren’t ridiculed as much for getting the wrong call. it takes a lot of pressure off referees and as you are an ex ref i am surprised you are against this. in the past players were penalised for going off their feet, but in many cases opposition puuled them down. and the player on the ground was allowed to hold on the ball while all this happened. it meant three points when to the team who played negatively.

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.03.08 08:36:49 by try time Reply
  • KSA
    If penalties were given for ruck infringements it would slow the game down. But, yes I agree, each ELV must be assesed individually….

  • Comment 15, posted at 05.03.08 08:36:50 by shark-tank Reply
  • Slowing the ball down is mostly going to happen with teams who can’t play at pace. I suppose Crusaders would need to do it to get their defences aligned, but it’s cynical play and the ref can award a penalty.

    Good quick teams will get better, slow to adapt teams (read Bulls) will get worse. It’s not designed around the strengths of SA rugby in general.

  • Comment 16, posted at 05.03.08 08:43:40 by hellbent Reply
  • 05.03.08 08:32:38 – hellbent

    Good idea ❗

  • Comment 17, posted at 05.03.08 08:43:47 by shark-tank Reply
  • ex my arse!!!!!!!!!!!!! 👿


  • Comment 18, posted at 05.03.08 08:44:12 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Agree with KSA – some laws invite negative play, especially the free-kick scenario. Whereas it was potential points against your team it is now at best a scrum or quick tap (equivalent to broken play). Offenses (hands in ruck etc) now just sets up another phase – again this invites negative play or tactics.

    And the fact that referees does not have as much pressure on them at rucks is definately not a good thing – that too invites mediocracy from referees – where they should be vigilant in the game they now relax because the ‘penalty’ is not so bad. Teams lose games by wrong calls at rucks and tackled balls – the ELV’s did not sort the tackle area out, it complicated it

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.03.08 08:46:33 by MorneN Reply
  • Some ELV’s are good, but not all.

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.03.08 08:46:56 by MorneN Reply
  • At the end of the day, it’s about trying to create more tries, and I for one buy into that idea. A penalty wastes at least 2 or 3 minutes of the game. A FK could be 5 seconds.

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.03.08 08:51:05 by hellbent Reply

  • HB

    I agree that it is about trying to create more tries but it seems the coaches are quicker on their feet that the “think tank” who came up with the ELV’s

    The 5m back at the scrum was adopted to give the backlines more room to move with. Watson summed it up well on Boots & All. When the backlines were not 10m from the LO’s then it was ugly but then they moved the backlines 10m back and the backlines had room to move. Last year and before you had the “clutter” in the mid field and they have moved the backlines 5m back at the scrums. Good Move IMO.

    BUT it is negated by the teams being prepared to give away FK’s at scrum time to better organize their defence.

    The coaches just seem quicker on the uptake than the guys who make the laws.

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.03.08 08:58:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • KSA you on MSN?

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.03.08 09:05:36 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • ksa yes but then the team must retake the scrums until the offending team is penalised and the players carded. it is about having a smart captain and scrum half who doesn’t run off with the ball while the captain is still taking grass out his teeth.

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.03.08 09:10:55 by try time Reply

  • Yes I am. 😳

  • Comment 25, posted at 05.03.08 09:11:04 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • referees must also warn offending tight fives, and be strict. a few penalty tries and yellow cards will soon stop this. referees need to get some balls. players and fans often ridicule referees time to turn the tables by being strict and making offenders pay.

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.03.08 09:13:37 by try time Reply

  • players and fans often ridicule referees time to turn the tables by being strict and making offenders pay.

    That’ll just change the kind of ridicule.
    Instead of being a useless ref he will now be a pedantic prick. 😉 A ref is very seldom if ever right in the eyes of a losing team’s supporters. 🙂

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.03.08 09:19:31 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • yeah it is a thankless job. but it will be made easier if grey areas are cleared out of rugby…like the ruck. i know that i have been less aggressive towards refs when it is only a free kick being awarded. and that says something. when three points were given to a team when both teams transgressed really irked me. i would like to see ass refs doing more about forward passes and off side lines than they are currently doing. but i understand they also have to dodge stupid mascots and camera crews so cannot always have their eyes where they should be. maybe a free strip must be made for ass refs so that they don’t have to worry about tripping over stuff while running up with the players. and offenders should be fined if they enter this area. this should fund referees more.

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.03.08 09:41:20 by try time Reply

  • ksa have you reffed the new laws yet. and how have you found them if you have?

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.03.08 09:42:42 by try time Reply

  • maybe you will find them more forgiving as on 50:50 calls you will not hold back and can blow what you felt. whereas blowing a 50:50 penalty isn’t as easy as it can end a teams season.

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.03.08 09:44:21 by try time Reply

  • TT


    it is only the S14 and the SA comps that are using the ELV’s. The AGRFU still play the regular laws.

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.03.08 09:48:08 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • ksa the other ref (if he is a ref) on the sharksrugby blog has said he has enjoyed the new laws. i must see if i can find his remarks.

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.03.08 09:54:12 by try time Reply

  • so maybe blowing them is better than watching them.

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.03.08 09:54:48 by try time Reply

  • TT he would only have blown them THIS season if he is from SA or if he is a S14 ref. 🙂

    The ELV’s were trialled in a few other places (Aus / Scotland) in the past but are only in use in SA and S14 at the moment as far as i am aware.

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.03.08 10:03:48 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • nah he blew them at varsity level when they first were introduced.

  • Comment 35, posted at 05.03.08 10:08:00 by try time Reply

  • i know varsity level isn’t s14 level, but not many other refs who have had the chance to use them.

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.03.08 10:09:26 by try time Reply

  • nah he blew them at varsity level when they first were introduced.

    05.03.08 10:08:00 – try time Edit

    So he is from Stellenbosch then, What do WP people know about rugby [says he ducking for cover]

  • Comment 37, posted at 05.03.08 10:10:00 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • i know why you are fighting them. you don’t want to write another exam. lazy … 😀

  • Comment 38, posted at 05.03.08 10:10:25 by try time Reply

  • Listen to Eddie he knows his rugby!

  • Comment 39, posted at 05.03.08 14:53:23 by csb Reply

  • 05.03.08 14:53:23 – csb

    So I take it JW is about to hug him and not punch him that picture of yours?

  • Comment 40, posted at 05.03.08 14:55:38 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • u take right there Dive , the dream team of coaches..Ha-ha Cartel..what cartel.. 😆

  • Comment 41, posted at 05.03.08 15:00:41 by csb Reply

  • Listen to Eddie he knows his rugby!

    05.03.08 14:53:23 – csb Edit

    hear hear

  • Comment 42, posted at 05.03.08 15:12:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I wonder if Eddie was coaching back in Australia whether he would be saying the same thing?

  • Comment 43, posted at 05.03.08 15:12:26 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass

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