North backtracks on ELV trials

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news on 15 Jul 2008 at 10:32
Tagged with :

International rugby is under serious threat of a north-south split after England, Ireland and Wales made a dramatic about-turn and refused to implement sanctions involving the experimental law variations (ELVs).

Australian Rugby Union chief executive and International Rugby Board delegate John O’Neill on Monday warned of the dangers of the game becoming an embarrassment, with two games and two different sets of laws.

“Contrary to their undertaking in May when they said they would find competitions to trial the sanctions, [the three nations] have now recanted and there will be no trialling of the sanctions in any competitions in those countries,” O’Neill said.

The southern hemisphere is committed to retaining the ELVs, meaning Australia, New Zealand and South Africa will be playing a significantly different game to their northern counterparts.

“This leaves us in the southern hemisphere in a quandary, but more particularly leaves the IRB in a very difficult position,” O’Neill said. “They’re looking to have a universal game with one set of laws at the earliest opportunity. But it’s impossible to have consistent and common dialogue about the new laws unless we have all trialled them.”

O’Neill said he was sick and tired of the northern countries arguing the ELVs were a southern hemisphere plot, and that the European teams were being ambushed into using the laws.

“To the contrary, the IRB has promoted these laws to improve the game and the spectacle, but there is now the serious risk of two games, with two different sets of laws. It could happen,” he said.

“People in the north are saying, ‘You just want the game to look more like rugby league’. Do you reckon the last two All Blacks-Springboks Tests look like rugby league? They have got to be kidding.”

O’Neill said it was crucial for the north to compare the Tests involving Australia against France and Ireland, which were played under the old laws, to the All Blacks-Springboks series that was run according to the ELVs.

“You don’t have to be Einstein to work out what’s the far more impressive game,” he said. “We are seeing a faster, more aerobic, and much better game, not a situation of one hemisphere getting an advantage over the other.

“We’re just saying to England, Wales, Ireland and the IRB, give it a fair go. To say ‘we are not going to trial them’ is not in the best interest of the game. And this is a tremendous test for the IRB leadership to stare down England, Wales and Ireland and force them to find competitions to trial the sanctions.”

O’Neill has been irritated by being constantly told by his home union counterparts that “our game is in great shape, and why should we help you because your game is in trouble”.

“Look, our game is not in trouble,” O’Neill said. “The fact is, anyone who was at the 2007 World Cup knows the semi-final and finals were very poor spectacles. They were not good games of rugby. And so far the first two Test matches played under the ELVs have been absolutely fantastic. That will ultimately catch up with the northern hemisphere. One day the fans will say, ‘This is boring. Penalty shoot-outs are not what we’ve come to see’. If we want rugby to continue to grow as a true international game, second only to football, we’ve got to move away from the battle lines being drawn between the southern and northern hemispheres.”

O’Neill was also surprised by comments from rugby league boss David Gallop, who said the promotion of Timana Tahu and Ryan Cross into the Wallabies squad indicated league was the No.1 code and rugby wasn’t properly looking after its juniors.

“This is an uncharacteristic comment from David,” he said. “I am very comfortable our talent programs are doing the trick. It’s a pity, David probably had a bad week getting into a fight with the Gladiator [Russell Crowe], then had some stoushes over TV deals, and he finishes off the week by giving us a backhander. I’m sure this week will be a lot better.”


  • Ok then the IRB must just inform them that when they tour in the Southern Hemisphere they must play the ELV’s. I’m confident that the Southern Hemisphere, for the most part, will be competitive playing the old rules in the Northern Hemisphere if they must.
    But no not a good situation when there are 2 sets of rules being played by the major nations.

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.07.08 10:44:24 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Not really a big shock.

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.07.08 10:51:50 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • “O’Neill was also surprised by comments from rugby league boss David Gallop, who said the promotion of Timana Tahu and Ryan Cross into the Wallabies squad indicated league was the No.1 code and rugby wasn’t properly looking after its juniors”

    Where’s the logic in this – surely if League was looking after their own then none of them would contemplate going over to Union.

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.07.08 10:52:32 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Probably just a bit of posturing from the NH. After all if it is backed by the IRb they are pissing against the wind surely?

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.07.08 10:52:53 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • Not surprise at all… 🙄 Why did we in SH have to invest time, money & frustration into the ELV’s where the NH just complains… IMO the IRB had to test this new laws globally and we could have prevented something like this… 😉

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.07.08 10:54:34 by Charlie Reply

  • Not sure what they hope to achieve. I assume that France, Italy etc have voted in favour of the ELV’s. 🙄

  • Comment 6, posted at 15.07.08 10:54:53 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • O’Neill is half the problem they never accepted these ELVs in the first place. Such a tosser who simply cant keep his mouth shut.

    I’m quite glad the NH extended the middle finger – this ELV circus has degenerated into a farce and they want no part of it.
    We should never have reached the point where we have 4 or 5 sets of rule sin play at one time.

    We should also never have had the situation where ELVs are adopted in only a handful of countries. They should’ve been rolled out worldwide.

    We should also never, ever, in a million years, be experimenting with ELVs in test matches. It’s simply not on.

    Now I’ve delved into this and the NH agreed to trial a set of ELVs sometime last year.
    This was before the SH decided they’d try tobutcher the game by playing under a different set of rules in every competition leading to the situation we have now.

    This is simply project management gone badly wrong with absoltuely no control.

    What they should’ve done is expereiment with the laws in minor leagues (which they did) and then accept a hanful of them at a time into both the S14 and the HC.
    This they never did – they concentrated everythign down in the SH with nothing in the NH.

    They then should’ve had a consultation period and evaluated the different ELVs. Presumably those that didn’t work would be canned. This didn’t happen, neither the evaluation or the canning of those that don’t work.
    There has been absolutely no change management whatsoever and things have simply got out of hand.
    The very fact that, after 185 Super145 games, they still havent had any decent consultaiton and not one of the Experimental Law Variations have been dropped or even tweaked means that they were never experimental and were simply adopted. How else can you explain it? Surely 185 games, being close on 15 000 minutes of rugby is enough to evaluate something on?
    Therefore it follows that at least one of the ELVs would get the chop.

    Nope. That didn’t ahppen and that is why the NH is wiping it’s hands of this mess that the like of Paddy o’Brien has created.

    And in the process they get to show o’Neill the middle finger. What could be better?

  • Comment 7, posted at 15.07.08 11:03:34 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @ra-cheltjie de’ be-er (Comment 6) :

    France voted no. So its France, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland effectively against SA, NZ and Oz.

    They win.

  • Comment 8, posted at 15.07.08 11:04:25 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @ra-cheltjie de’ be-er (Comment 4) :

    Problem is that this was ruled by agreement and the south reneged on their side of the deal by continuously changing the ELVs.
    The deal was to trial the ELVs in a pro league up north. Which pro league was never agreed, it only said one pro league.

    I think waht the NH is saying is that these are no longer Experimental and are goign to be forced through regardless.

    And they’re not happy with that and understandably so.

  • Comment 9, posted at 15.07.08 11:06:38 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 1) :

    IRB is only a collection of unions.

    And the SH doesnt have enough votes to force anybody to do anything.

    Paddy o’Brien fucked this up with his shambles of a project management.

    John o’Neill thinking he tell the world what to do doesn’t help.

  • Comment 10, posted at 15.07.08 11:08:02 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • what a gemors

  • Comment 11, posted at 15.07.08 11:10:00 by spykerbaard Reply

  • So in other words the IRB is a powerless organisation ❓

  • Comment 12, posted at 15.07.08 11:12:40 by blackshark Reply

    blackshark - I'm back!
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 7) : VinChainMorneNoSaw 😯

  • Comment 13, posted at 15.07.08 11:16:06 by PJLD Reply
  • @spykerbaard (Comment 11) : Where’s Chuck Norris when you need him… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 15.07.08 11:16:12 by Charlie Reply

  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 7) : @VinChainSaw (Comment 8) : @VinChainSaw (Comment 9) : Thanks, makes more sense now.

  • Comment 15, posted at 15.07.08 11:27:31 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • I can understand the NH doubts. The Premiership/Top 14/ Heineken Cup seem to be going from strength to strength. They have full stadia, and their product seems to be doing very well. And with clubs being privately owned they want to protect what they have.

  • Comment 16, posted at 15.07.08 11:30:40 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • @ra-cheltjie de’ be-er (Comment 15) :
    and as spyker says “wat ‘n mess”

  • Comment 17, posted at 15.07.08 11:30:58 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Charlie (Comment 14) :
    i fully expect you to get Adi to sort this mess out 😉

  • Comment 18, posted at 15.07.08 11:33:52 by spykerbaard Reply

  • @spykerbaard (Comment 18) : I’ll contact James Dalton for this mission… :mrgreen:

  • Comment 19, posted at 15.07.08 12:02:44 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 19) :

    You need to get hold of him in the mornings, by late afternoon he’s apparently not much use…

  • Comment 20, posted at 15.07.08 12:27:53 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • Final decision from IRB will only be made in May 2009. So it could still be rejected.

  • Comment 21, posted at 17.07.08 12:34:38 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply

  • From News24 – A survey, released this week by the players’ associations in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, has overwhelmingly endorsed the Super 14 experience.

    Almost 90% of the 260 respondents said the laws were easy to understand and result in more continuity, while 83% said they had been a positive for rugby.

    And the most contentious innovation – the replacement of most penalties with a short-arm free-kick – was also resoundingly endorsed by the players, with 85% approving the move.

  • Comment 22, posted at 17.07.08 13:03:50 by ra-cheltjie de' be-er Reply


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