A few things are bugging me about the professional game at the minute. So I thought I’d share my thoughts and see what other people’s views are.
1. The scrum (or lack of it) in the game
Now this might seem a very odd statement given how much time is wasted in the game on setting and re-setting scrums but my point is at this level very few scrums seem to result in what they are intended to do. That is to be a means to restart the game.
What seems to happen is the scrum collapses, gets reset and after one or more repeats of this either a penalty or a free kick is awarded.
This is spoiling the game for the spectators and is risking this element of the game being reduced to the “group hug” which happens in League or worst still being removed altogether from our game. I’ve covered this point in my article, but it is also now having an impact on the changes coming into the game in the age grade changes which will see the scrum remaining uncontested until late into youth rugby (see Dave Beal’s post here).
2. The unfinished maul
A driving maul is a powerful weapon when built well and executed. They are massively difficult to defend once moving with it being a penalty offence for collapsing a maul as well. This is the area which is causing my second bugbear.
It would seem that this law has been forgotten at the higher levels of the game when a player is held up in the tackle and a maul is called.
If the maul is not completed then the defending team gets the put in at the scrum but it seems to be the case that once a maul is called by the referee in that tackle situation the defending team seems to just pull it to ground and “win” the put in at the scrum which then feeds into the 1st issue.
3. Commentators criticising the referee
Every single match there are a number of ex-player, coaches or “pundits” who spend a considerable amount of time berating one decision of another by the ref.
Now the fact is the ref will make a mistake now and then, this is sport – it happens. Over the course of a match or a season these decisions tend to even themselves out.
However, this trend seems to be crossing over to social media and onto the sidelines at grassroots levels.
A weekend or so ago I ran touch for a game and had to listen to a bunch of “club Stewarts” berating every decision a referee made in what can only be described as a one-eyed view which they then defeated as “banter”.
These are as I said personal bug-bears but I can see each one of these having a considerable impact on the game. That could just be the game changing and evolving but it would be interesting to see what others think.