Following the news of the horrific World Cup hosting, I was surprised to hear Rugby Australia announce that they will be targeting league players for 2027.
What kind of message does the game of rugby send to juniors already?
In 2003, the administration found Lotte Tukiri, Wendell Sailor and Matt Rogers and failed to win a World Cup. What’s wrong with our system? What do we mean by grassroots?
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We have won two World Cups by supporting our own talents and it has been effective.
It’s up to the players if they want to play in the league but why doesn’t RA think that what they are doing is good enough?
It’s very frustrating when I get close to the grassroots, people ask me ‘why does Rugby want to get Australia League players?’ I agree and do not answer.
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I don’t agree with copying league rules and using them in rugby, as they do with goal line dropouts and 50:22.
Why are we trying to play another game and amend our laws?
I still love rugby. We have a great culture with respectable supporters and players who still want to have beer with each other even after a tough game.
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And there is a lot of excitement around the announcement of the World Cup which I see wherever I go.
But I believe some simple changes will make the game better.
Here are some ideas and I want to hear feedback on what rugby people think on my Instagram and Facebook pages.
Australia will host two Rugby World Cups
One of the laws that needs to be changed quickly is the benefits law. You can get half of the other team and take advantage, go to step 30 and the ref will go back to where the initial knock or violation was.
But if you kick the ball away then the advantage is over so this is a very strange law. Why don’t they make it a bit like basketball – you have three seconds to shoot, if you don’t lose the ball?
How many stages? I think three stages and then okay, over advantage. This makes the game faster.
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The biggest problem in rugby right now is the tackle technique. Players are being coached to tackle around the chest to stop offload and have problems with yellow and red cards.
But the referees have to enjoy the game just like the players and find something in every episode of the game. You say to them: ‘Oh, can we go back and check the tackle here?’ Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like Rugby aint for me either.
You’re going to find things happened. One man turned his head and collided with another man. What do you do
Maybe the defense coaches are being stressed ‘just deal with a guy around the feet’ as we do with kids. At this point the emphasis is on trying and tackling a ball and all.
One big change I will make is having four reserves on your bench.
At one time you were in the top 15 in Australia, now it’s in the top 23. You can get 40, 60 minutes, you weren’t injured but you left. If you are the best player then you are the best player. Start the game.
The boys proceeded with one minute to get the test cap. Why would you give a man a minute? In our day you would leave if you were injured and we had only two reserves.
If the doctor comes down and says you are injured, you can leave.
So I will only give a test cap if you start the game or if you replace a legally injured player. It should be hard earned, a true honor and you should have 80 minutes.
Let the players play
I would like to make another change that no player or coach is allowed to run on the field as a waterboy. You watch a test now and after three minutes the coach is running and talking to the players.
The game has just started, they are professionals and you have someone running to talk to them while they are together all week training to talk about the game.
What about all that? The players are there because they are the best in the country, I don’t think they have to be babysit in every move. Let the players decide. A former international spoke to me and mentioned that he was on the board of the England Premiership. He said he went to the box and spoke to a coach who said ‘we tried to give the team 100 messages in 80 minutes.’
Coaches need to understand that they will not play the game. They coach during the week but let the players play on the day of the game.
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Boys are against men
I get involved in a lot of rugby, including clubs, and I see a more positive attitude towards the game from the players and referees that you get at the professional level.
Maybe because it is played by players who want to enjoy the game and express themselves. Without club rugby, we wouldn’t be making state and wallabies players so it’s vital that we keep that system running because that’s how you learn from older boys.
There is a process here and the way to go to Club Rugby Hall because there is a lot of knowledge and experience for older players. I like to see that super rugby players often turn up for their club.
Good luck to the Aussies
It’s great to see three Aussie teams in the Super Rugby quarter finals.
Now the hard work begins in the final football. Good luck to all the team.
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