Australian Rugby Union is calling on fans to think of innovative experimental laws that could be submitted for review and adopted as part of Australian Rugby’s new domestic competition, the National Rugby Championship.
From next Monday (19 May), Rugby fans will be given the opportunity to suggest experimental laws that they think should be trialled in the NRC’s inaugural year through a social media campaign.
Four of Australia’s leading Rugby minds – former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer, former international Rugby referee Wayne Erickson, former Wallaby and current FOX SPORTS Rugby commentator Rod Kafer and Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie – will come together to review and shortlist fans’ suggestions, which will then be put to a public vote.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said the panel had the perfect mix of coaching, playing and refereeing experience to take on this important task.
“Collectively, these men have more than a century of professional Rugby experience.”
“Having been involved in the game at club, Super Rugby, international and an administrative level, they all have a deep understanding of what elements are needed to create an entertaining brand of Rugby that is exciting to play, coach and most importantly watch.
“Based on the outcomes of their first panel meeting, I know they all recognise the need to maintain the fabric of the game that makes it so great – an understandably critical factor for the International Rugby Board when they review any experimental law submissions.
“I’m confident this will be reflected in the experimental laws we’ll be implementing in the National Rugby Championship.
“Already we’ve seen the impact Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has had in introducing a more creative style of running Rugby to our Test team, and this is an attitude we want to foster across all competitions in Australia.
“Similarly, World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer is a strong advocate of evolving the way Rugby is played and has a keen desire to see our players playing exciting Rugby week in, week out.
“As a former Wallaby and current Rugby commentator, Rod Kafer has an incredibly astute Rugby brain and we expect him to bring a strong analytical attitude to the table, while Wayne Erickson is regarded as one of Rugby’s greatest Test officials and, as Rugby’s first fulltime professional referee, has a wealth of knowledge to contribute to the group.”
Mr Pulver said the social media experimental law campaign presents a terrific opportunity to look at law variations that could enhance the entertainment value of Rugby.
“Asking fans to contribute ideas on experimental laws is a great way to re-energise the passionate Rugby fan base and will ensure the NRC has the interests of Rugby supporters at its core.”
“This is an exciting and innovative way for supporters to have their say, and I’m looking forward to seeing the suggestions as they flow in,” he said.
The social media campaign will run for three to four weeks, starting on Monday 19 May, and will be split into three phases:
1. crowd-sourcing suggestions from fans
2. shortlisting of suggestions by the panel of experts
3. public vote on the panel’s shortlist
Any proposed experimental laws must receive clearance from the International Rugby Board before they can be implemented.
The NRC will run for 11 weeks from late August to early November. It will involve nine teams – two from Queensland, four from New South Wales, and one each from the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia.
The competition presents a great opportunity for Rugby fans to engage with and support a local team during the second half of the year, once the Super Rugby and State Premier Rugby competitions are completed.
It is sponsored by FOX SPORTS and Foxtel, with FOX SPORTS set to broadcast at least one live match per round plus the semi-finals and final.
Further information on the social media campaign will be available from 19 May at Facebook.com/Wallabies.