Coaches positive about Super Rugby AU rule changes

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia’s coaches are confident proposed Super Rugby AU rule changes will not hurt the Wallabies’ chances when it comes to the international stage.

The Super Rugby AU draw was released on Thursday and rule changes for the competition are expected to be confirmed on Friday.

Many of the changes have been openly discussed, including the 50-22 kick that was used in the NRC in 2019, limiting scrum resets and eliminating marks in the 22.

The inception of golden point and the ability to replace a red carded player after 20 minutes have also been touted as potential inclusions and fans will have their first glimpse of those in the Super Rugby Aotearoa this weekend.

Australia’s coaches have been among the groups in discussions over potential rule changes for the competition.

Waratahs coach Rob Penney said he felt the soon-to-be-confirmed changes could hopefully be adopted into the game long term.

“I think the ones we're taking into our competition we've gone obviously a bit further than New Zealand,” he said.

“We've had to be really conscious about not impacting negatively on the international games that will occur, hopefully, post our competition.

“There's a nice balance there, quite a few that could easily be adopted particularly if they have a positive outcome in our competition that could be adopted and take the game forward, which is needed.

“You just look at the other code that has made a couple of subtle changes and it's quite a different game isn't it? 

“That's the sort of challenges we have to make sure our game retains its integrity and is able to be a spectacle for people who may not be aware of the nuances of the laws of our game. 

“That has always been a challenge of rugby.”

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Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said despite a raft of changes potentially being introduced, the focus with them was ensuring they didn’t limit Australia’s ability to compete on the world stage.

“When we talk about these law variations and these discussions that I've obviously been involved with, the number one principle was that we don't lose the fabric of the game and that we're making sure we're developing players for Test rugby,” he said.

Reds coach Brad Thorn admitted he was more of a traditionalist, as a former tight forward, but hoped new laws could free up the attacking side of the game.

“(If it were up to me) we'd just be scrumming all day and mauling, I'm probably the wrong guy,” he said

“The World Cup - didn't it get the best viewing ever? You look at school rugby, first Xv thriving, look at club rugby doing really well in Sydney and Brisbane.

“You look at the Six Nations, you look at rugby in Europe booming away, going all round the world, America's got a competition. It's a pretty good game, it's a good game of rugby that one true game that still has its position for everyone.

“Our focus here is, it's a cool thing rule changes, but we just want to be playing the game better, that's our resolve and I felt like perhaps what you started to see this year, started to see that we're starting to see.”

Novel rules are something Force coach Tim Sampson will be used to after coaching his team through Rapid Rugby exhibition matches and the NRC last year.

“It'll be good for viewers, it'll be good for players, thankfully we've played under a couple already and even NRC,” he said.

“There have been lengthy conversations with the other Super Rugby head coaches some players were involved in that as well.  

“It's exciting and we did propose a couple that have been played under Rapid Rugby laws the last couple of years and it’s going to be great to see those be part of the competition.”

The Super Rugby AU competition kicks off on Friday July 3 with the Reds hosting the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports.