Rugby Anyone? All formats, all League and Union, all formats

They have been trying to work change within the framework of the game as is. But like football - where much is changing for player safety and so we get to see the best players play.

Everything changes sooner or later - and it seems golf rewriting their rule book has shown rules can be simplified and still work just as well as before.

So now they have been working on reducing head injuries for a while it’s likely they are ready to rewrite the laws ro better support player safety and to fix some bits of the game that need a tweak.

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“Dupont’s Law”: The Super Rugby Trial to Eliminate an Old, Largely Unknown, Law from the Game

This is an old law of the game that I never had a clue about much like even most experienced players and fans. What happened recently was a player from France named Dupont recently discovered a loophole with the law in place such that what resulted in matches recently was described as “kick tennis.”
:thinking: :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :unamused:

Yes, it is what it sounds like. You’ll get to see it on video too.

I remember in my time playing as I was coached, nobody said anything about this law.

If you were in an offside position such as after a kick, such as is Dupont, we were told to simply wait for the kicker or another player onside, known as a chaser, to run past us and put us onside. Otherwise if playing the opponent or the ball, we would be offside with the penalty awarded to the opponent.

(Side note, this rule in rugby is the origin of the existing CFL rules for players who don’t have to give yards after a punt or other kick to the receiving player, such as the kicker himself or anybody behind the kicker at the time the ball was kicked. Wouldn’t it be great if in turn THOSE players could put other players onside on the kicking team just like in rugby, but I digress.)

The above goes if otherwise under existing law the player who catches the ball either does not pass or kick the ball, or if that player does not catch the ball cleanly or fumbles it. These exceptions are explained in the video as well.

In this case, what if there is no kicker or chaser putting a player who is offside onside or the opponent catching the ball does not run with it only to merely kick it back? Uh oh.

Occasionally exploitation of an uncommon loophole happens in any given sport, and nobody is breaking the rules, and nothing comes of it on the rare occasion; however, in this case, wow the ghastly unintended consequences to RUIN the game!

And so Super Rugby (Pacific), which is the professional rugby union tournament involving teams from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and a union of three groups of Pacific Islands, is taking the offensive.

Some of you like me might remember its predecessor years ago, the Super 14.

Now after the Super Rugby season just started in 2024, Super Rugby removed the old law altogether such that the loophole can no longer be used.

A player attempting to play the ball after a kick who is offside, using one of the three exceptions as noted as did Dupont, would be offside with a penalty to result unless one of the two remaining exceptions would apply. He cannot engage in any play when offside, or it is a penalty like now.

It took me a while with this fine video to understand not only that such a rule existed, but also how Dupont and his copycats have exploited this loophole to ruin games and the sport!

Now Super Rugby 2024 shall be watched as the test case by World Rugby for also future changes.

After a favourable review, World Rugby would presumably eliminate this old law as well.

But what about also so many other laws that need to either be adjusted or eliminated?

Rugby has too complex of a rule book!

This Australian on YouTube, who is a former player and now a manager at the youth level, explains quite well the matter of this test with elimination of this old law, as well as some other comments about improving the sport.

Yeah, I have watched that kind of “kick tennis” go on for far too long in games. While its a nice display of kicking skill it does little to further play and only gives tired players a chance to get back onside.

The best solution I have seen on field is Tyrone Green (Harliquins English Rugby Union) and his high speed return when he can get a running start at the opposition.

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Excellent point! I’ll be interested in how the elimination of “Dupont’s Law” goes in Super Rugby such that the law is abolished.

Had I ever known this exception of the 5m run by the player catching the ball, often the wing or fullback of which I played both, I would have wanted it gone.

Quite simply as will be on display in Super Rugby, if you have your team kick long like that for field position, either the kickers and chasers make their runs (and as many teams do and we used to do as coached, other players can run back to cover their positions in case of a return kick or otherwise) to put their mates onside, and/or the offside players run backward to get onside, or no play for all these offside players standing around near the centre of the pitch simply picking their noses or …, which is just plain STUPID to accommodate within the existing laws of the game.

Of course the other two exceptions for a pass or kick by the opponent catching the ball, or a touch of the ball but without possession (i.e. bobbled catch or deflected or dropped ball backwards), should still apply to put all players of the kicking team onside.

How satisfying is it to have a clip with just the crowd noise and ref-mic

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Just to clarify as well - this is more of an issue in Rugby Union than in Rugby League. Both have by definition a “back row” but league tends to chase back to get to kicks where Union usually has a true back row, which is more prone to kick tennis.

NRL kickers (ruby league) now are working on very high kicks with a spiral on the ball, where the ball comes down nearly dead vertical. Why? Hugely difficult for guys to judge and get under the ball, which leads to letting the ball land to avoid a knock on, and not cleanly catching the ball means no kick tennis.

…they would make excellent football punters…

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Wow is this interesting! What a trajectory for that ball too.

I’ve never followed rugby league and am only familiar from afar and what I can read, but I am surprised it has this same old law in its game as well.

Even after my playing days were over and up until only a few years ago, I continued to kick in training for both the rugby ball and an American NFL football.

And yes I could make both balls spiral and still know the technique, but it was more for direction and distance than for merely height.

Eventually all these balls I had went flat (cue the jokes from any lurkers in here with the Butt-head laughs perhaps), and I never bought new ones with much else to do any more, so now it’s only soccer balls (all of which I found abandoned for free over the years, including even an official MLS ball from an actual team) when the weather is nice on a day off.

But as we were coached and I can still do to catch even some of the highest kicks, when you catch a kick in rugby unlike in gridiron football, unless perhaps making a mark you turn to the side for two reasons:

  1. The likelihood of a knock-on is less, for on a bobble the ball will more likely go to your side or behind you instead of forward AND

  2. When you catch the ball you are immediately in position to run in any direction easily.

Of course in the first possibility there could still be kick tennis like in rugby.

In the second possibility, in gridiron football there is similar coaching not as much for punt returns but previously on kickoff returns and still at the amateur level high school or lower, when a player would catch the ball with torso at a slight angle with a foot back so as to spring from the catch immediately into the return.

The mechanics of the catch are similar for returns of kicks in both rugby in gridiron football in that regard.

If you have a chance - watch an Austrailian NRL game or two. They start up here the beginning of March. European League is weak by comparison. There are some clunkers but
Of the first weeks matches the Broncos vs.Roosters March 2, or the Warriors vs Sharks on March 8 should be a good matches. (just remember - its always tomorrow today in Australia…)

The kicking game apart from the 40-20 or a long kick for position is often shorter and more strategic in league too though as you can compete for the ball, and its used as a way to advance the ball as well.

Receiving those kicks is like catching a very high fly ball in baseball - you have to look so strait up you have no frame of reference for which way the ball is moving. And because it is used as a way to advance the ball the ball is live for both teams, so receiving it cleanly is a must.

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Early Reviews, Repeal of Dupont’s Law, Super Rugby

The early reviews are positive after the repeal of this old law that hardly anybody knew was around until Frenchman Dupont made it famous here in 2024.

Even so as one commenter stated, the sample size is still too small.

As I played as did many, we didn’t even know there was such a law at all. It worked out fine much along the lines noted below and as played by overwhelmingly most not knowing the law all along.

I’m not on Reddit, but this looks like an uncommon discussion between dominantly informed parties instead of the usual bojacks and trolls on social media.

https://www.reddit.com/r/rugbyunion/comments/1azqpqk/super_rugby_removing_dupont_lawsuccess/

So it’s only been one weekend but the removal of the laws from Super Rugby that have recently been exploited to result in endless “kick tennis” seems a great success. The rugby looked normal, kickers chased kicks hard to put their players onside, cover dropped back. We still saw kicking battles for territory but only 2-5 kicks or so. Pretty good start I’d say. Did anyone spot any difference at all?

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Good. The one thing you can do in Rugby League to make a ref unhappy is slow down play purposefully.
Kick Tennis - which is more prevalent in Rugby Union was used for that exact purpose - to give everyone a breather except for the guys kicking.

I guess after trials World Rugby would have to rewrite the laws somewhat for it to be accepted worldwide. I am surprised in some ways that they haven’t done something similar to what golf did and made a full review (and possible rewrite) of the laws.

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The Six Nations Chatter March 2024

Some interesting chatter is at hand here on the Six Nations and the game of rugby at large, including from the perspective of viewership in the UK. Of course if you are a subscriber to Pirate Sports Network like me, you might notice those feeds.

The broadcast deal with BBC and ITV, who show the whole thing live and free-to-air, is up after 2025, and the smart money within the industry is on TNT Sports bringing a subscription-channel element from 2026, maybe in conjunction with some matches remaining on ITV.

So the BBC may now have less money to throw at the Six Nations, whose controlling unions are either individually running at a loss or certainly of a mind to look seriously at the best financial offer. The BBC’s soon-to-depart head of sport, Barbara Slater, warned of this to the Commons’ culture, media and sport select committee in November.

Can the Six Nations afford to go behind a paywall? Can they afford not to? If they do it, they must show the public how and where the extra money is benefitting the sport.

Also look at the following as rugby now reckons with its own class action concussion lawsuit and at the lower levels of play, rugby has already lowered the physical threshold for what is a “high tackle.” Presumably, I would think there is now no more slack on contact made on the neck with a player with the ball?

Club rugby behind a paywall attracts audiences in the tens of thousands, although the Premiership plans to return with a bang next week, with a crowd of 60,000 for Saracens vs Harlequins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and the run-in and play-offs will be marketed in the same way as the “Derby Weekend” and festive fixtures earlier this season.

Also during this season – it has been a busy one, that’s for sure – the lawsuit brought against rugby governing bodies over the handling of concussion had its preliminary proceedings, at which a daunting array of legal eagles were ranged on the establishment’s side, against those representing hundreds of players claiming compensation. It will be next year before the case is heard, if at all. It feels like a vulture circling, and at the same time maybe best for the game if the row is resolved, legally, once and for all.

The knock-on effect on the field is continued intolerance of contact with the head, and it cost the France lock Paul Willemse a sending-off in that first match in Marseille. At lower levels of rugby, the legal tackle height has been lowered, and this is a likely development for the elite.

Interesting take here from New Zealand on the rule change known as “Dupont’s Law”

Penney said the change would need to be more dramatic to have the desired result.

"If you were to say anyone in front of the kicker was to have to retreat that would open up massive amounts of space and opportunity.

“But there’s the 10 metre rule where if you’re in front of the kicker you can’t advance if you’re within 10 metres across the field, but you are allowed to stay there and if you do want to move laterally you just have to make sure you move some degree backwards,” Penney said.

“So what in all [intents and] intensive purposes has happened is there is a bit more emphasis on the kick chaser having to get up with the guys in front and put them onside, but it hasn’t really gone far enough to open up the opportunity to counter if teams are very active in their kick chase.”

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson is heading to the UK next week for a series of meetings with the sport’s leaders.

He hopes the Northern Hemisphere’s rugby powers adopt Super Rugby’s alteration of the “Dupont law”.

In so many words, Penney seems to be advocating for the addition of the duty of an offside player to also retreat rather than be able to stand around or merely move laterally to keep 10m distance from the kicker.

At that rate, it’s as if there would be yet another trial!? I’m okay with trials so long as they change the base law to match the current trial, which seems to be working out overall.

It’s time rugby got together and started their own pay streaming service worldwide. Because it would work for all but the rugby world cup.
The leagues could all benefit as unlike other sports - it is played in both the northern and southern hemisphere, so leagues run year round pretty much.
The problem here is its divided among several networks and you never know which and when and you have to hunt it up, plus - it’s on in the middle of the night - 6 nations especially.
A single worldwide streaming source for rugby would be something I would more likely pay for than Canadian sports networks premium services they are on now.

Hard to say but since everybody started working to reduce head injuries in sport - rugby to me has done the best most consistent job of penalizing for head contact and have most of all brought the level of head injury awareness to a high level. I have seen guys in rugby bodily stop a player from getting up after a head injury, as stopping activity for a short time immediately after injury has shown to dramatically reduce swelling and after effects.
That plus they have had spotters for a few seasons now - longer than north american football has.
So I don’t know - if you are doing all you can to mitigate that would be due diligence here but I don’t know what they think of that where the lawsuit has been filed.

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Oh - and I’m such a big fan of the NRL I never noticed until I started watching the opener and couldn’t remember which stadium had a roof…that it wasn’t Austrailia…

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What a great weekend for Rugby! Everybody is back from 6 nations so had games from English Premier League and Super League as well as NRL games to watch.

NRL is well worth the watch if you haven’t ever. The fastest Rugby League on the planet. Very exciting to watch.

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Always preferred league (13/side) over union(15/side).

More back and forth in league.

It is a faster game with more open play for sure. The Australian NRL is the crazy league to watch.
Their best of three Origin (All Star game in other sports) Series is insanely good as unlike other All Star games its all out, Even if one side wins the first two games and the series, the third game is usually more intense than the first two.

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Heard about those State of Origin games.

Next to the Grande Final (Aussie Rules and NRL) the State of Origin games are the most attended sporting event in the Australian Sports calendar.

Also to add do you follow the IPL cricket league from India by any chance?

Have it for free for some reason (not that I am complaining).

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No, not a big cricket fan, sorry. But my friend Salil finally helped make sense of the game for me…

I got into Rugby watching 6 nations cup and by learning a lot about the Laws from a guy I worked with who came from the most rugby crazy country on earth - New Zealand.

I do have Sportsnet World as my one “add on package” thought its stupidly expensive, it’s loaded with soccer (not a fan) and Rugby Premiership, United Rugby Championship, Super League from England and NRL.

Wish some one streaming site carried all of those but its all spread out in little bits ans pieces, which makes SN World the best least expensive option…

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For cricket once you get the nuances of the sport you will enjoy the 20Twenty version of it.

The IPL’s popularity worldwide matches the EPL and the NFL in terms of viewership.

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