Johannesburg – Former Springbok prop Ollie le Roux is relieved New Zealand’s rugby authorities have drawn a line in the sand by not adopting World Rugby’s optional trial laws.
The country’s Super rugby Aotearoa, which starts next week, confirmed that several new innovations for the domestic-based tournament, confining prominent technical changes to just the breakdown area.
None of the other polarising laws such as no scrum resets, the elimination of a scrum as a penalty option and limits on the number of players who can join a maul will be implemented. The rule changes are designed to mitigate the risk of Covid-19.
“I didn’t think those initial reports about scrums being temporarily banned overall was realistic anyway, but I’m chuffed that the set-piece remains as it is,” Le Roux said.
“Why must we take away or modify aspects that would severely influence the essence of the game. I don’t think we need to tell anyone about the importance of scrums. It’s one of the cornerstones of the game, an area of the game that is a weapon for teams and leads to compelling duels. If you’re going to take away these things, then we might as well tell the players to only come back when the virus is gone.
Le Roux is all for pragmatism when it comes to rugby dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.
“Safety is obviously imperative and I support any initiative to keep players and officials protected. However, it must not come at the expense of common sense,” said Le Roux.
“What is the point of limiting scrums to minimise transmission when you’re going to pile bodies into rucks or mauls? We’ve read SA Rugby outlining how they’re prioritising screening and testing. That’s how you keep players safe.”