Former Springbok coach Jake White says law changes need to be made to reward teams that dominate possession.
In a column for AllOutRugby, White highlighted the Vodacom Super Rugby final in Christchurch, where the Jaguares dominated possession and had the better of the opportunities, but were pummelled 19-3 by the hosts, who went on to secure a third-successive title and a record-extending 10th overall.
‘For the first 20 minutes of the final, the Crusaders were getting absolutely bashed by the Jaguares’ linespeed, and the Kiwis were turning over the ball. Then there was a water break at the end of the first quarter and the Crusaders got together for a team talk. From that moment on there was a definite change in tactics.
‘The Kiwis used box kicks and one of those set up the breakdown turnover that led to Codie Taylor’s try. The Crusaders won their 10th title by kicking instead of keeping the ball in hand – they finished the game with less possession and territory, and won.
‘As was the case in 1995, South Africa prevailed in a final where no tries were scored, and here we are 12 years later, in a competition that prides itself on tries, and only one try was scored in the final by the team that had less ball.
‘The shape of the game needs to change. Currently, you don’t get rewarded for having the ball, you get rewarded for having field position and defending.
‘So how do you change that to give the game a different shape? If you want to make it a possession-based game, then you want to reward the team that has the ball in their hands by making it easier for them to get into try-scoring positions.
‘World Rugby is considering implementing the 50/22 law, based on a similar law in Rugby League. It would award a lineout to the kicking team if they successfully kick from their own half and the ball rolls into touch inside their opponent’s 22. Supporters groan when their team ‘kicks the ball away’, but a team could get possession and territory with 50/22 kicks.
‘It would completely change the shape of the game and create something that’s never been seen before. Rugby should be a possession-based game, otherwise what’s the point of having a ball?’
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