My top 10 rule changes I’d love to see changed or implemented in rugby. Of course this is just a base outline and further scrutiny would be required but it’s not the mauls or scrums that annoy me but the small nuances of the game that allow a referee to dictate too much or take the control from players.
- Stealing the ball at the ruck
I’d love to see this more in the favour of the attacking team. At the moment defending players will too often have their hands on the ground or the backs of their hands on the ground and gain a penalty. The other one I see all too often is their hands on the ground then they go for the ball.
If it’s too hard for referees to see the hands on the ground, then I would love to see it’s changed so that a penalty is only awarded if you can see clear separation of the ball off the ground when the player is trying to steal it. Or very obvious tugging on the ball.
Lets get rid of the guessing by referees because they see someone over the ball and think surely it must be coming out.
- Head collisions
Yes I believe in protecting our players, there is no argument there. But if this is a rule, then it should apply to both attacking and defenders as both have a part to play. If a player leads with his head, they are putting their head in a compromising position. That should be either taken into consideration or not allowed. If a player is upright and it’s a straight head collision in an upright manner then that should be accidental.
- Allowing 9s to move the ball to back of the ruck for box kick
My understanding is that you must join a ruck from the back and touching the ball from anywhere but the hindmost feet is offside. So why then do we allow 9s to move alongside the ruck and move the ball to the back of the chain of players to then do a box kick?
And to further mitigate this, a player cannot bind onto a single player to form a long line of just 2 people.
- Attacking players receiving the ball inside 5/10 off scrums and lineouts
Referees will only ever tell the defensive line to not move up. Mean-while the attacking winger has moved within the 10, or the runner is about to move.
Or the 9 off the base of the scrum passes to the receiver who is parallel already. The only way to get in that position is if they move before the 9 has cleared the ball, in theory making them offside.
Police both sides in set-piece for offside!
- Allow a contest at the ruck before a penalty
Too quick are referees blowing the whistle for holding on before the attackers have had a chance to clear out. If it’s a fraction of a second give the benefit of the doubt to the attacking team and don’t blow that horn so quick. Let the game flow! One of the big reasons why attacking teams are a fraction slower
is because the tackler gets in the way causing a fraction of a second slow down for clearing ruck hitters to arrive. The defenders in the meantime have clear air to go for the ball.
- Stop the clock when a try is scored
To save timewasting, lets just stop the clock. Sure a game might go on for a few minutes longer but so be it. The games that are complete blow outs, even longer.
Either that, or seriously put a timer on the tickers to keep them within their time allowed period.
- More lenient on ruck entry
Lets just open up that angle a bit more and allow ruck cleaners a bit more leniency. Too often I’ve seen penalties for incorrect entry when it’s such a fine margin, and it just didn’t need to be blown by the referee. Again err on the side of the attackers and let the game flow.
- Obstructing a kicker’s follow through
A winger has the ball. He kicks it through. The defender either is in the air, or is in their way. How many times have we seen a penalty blown because the attacker runs into the defender. A defender should be allowed to stand their ground. Let the game flow and if the kicker runs straight in then that’s their hard luck
- Slapping down the ball
Lets just allow it. Sure there might be a-lot of it happening, but lets make our players better at identifying a slap down and instead throwing a dummy. I don’t necessarily know if more slap downs will happen or not but it is frustrating when you hope for an intercept and suddenly you are penalised.
- Defenders catching the ball retains ball when held up
If a defender catches a ball on the full, and is then subsequently held up. They retain the ball off the resultant scrum. Give the advantage to the attackers and make it harder for kicking teams to retrieve. I’d almost go as far as to say only the defenders can jump for the ball, but that might be pushing it a bit far as it’s a good contest between the 2 players in this scenario.
And finally not a rule but just a fan request.
- Do not allow close television inspection replays of tries or allow referees to go back for incidents and re-watch replays to disallow tries. For goodness sake, let the game go. Make some mistakes. If we take away television replay and then the subsequent scrutiny by the public, referees will feel less pressure to be perfect and we can just start relying once more on their calls.
Let the game flow!!!!!!!!!