There are certain laws in rugby, and indeed all sports, where players will continuously try to push their luck.
Feeding at scrums was always one that enraged pundits and fans, as for years scrumhalves were able to flout the law that said the ball needed to be fed straight into the scrum.
This became so commonplace and so rarely punished that the laws were tweaked to favour the feeding side, whilst also trying to avoid scrums becoming similar to rugby league’s.
There are plenty of other gripes that many across the rugby world have, and one of them being offside at kick-offs. More and more often, the players chasing a kick-off are seen in front of the kicker, and it is no stretch to say that it is sometimes over ten players offside.
Former England flyhalf Andy Goode raised this on Twitter recently as one of his bugbears in the game, citing Northampton Saints’ kick-off against Wasps, but it could in truth be the majority of games where this is seen.
Talked about this while on co-comms a few times this season so it’s becoming one of my bugbears but Matt Carley is a yard away and he doesn’t see Furbank in front of Biggar who hasn’t kicked the ball yet from the last kick off! pic.twitter.com/NkDeT0g7jo
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) January 5, 2020
The thing that annoys so many is that the referee is mere feet away from the kicker, which is similar to feeding at scrums. However, there is no need to change the laws in this department, it just requires sterner officiating and could be remedied instantly.
I reckon this happens at 103% of all kick offs now Alan.
— David Flatman (@davidflatman) January 6, 2020
Players do this to limit the amount of time the receiver has after catching the ball, or even to allow a greater contest for the ball, but it is also an easy one for players to change. They simply need to ensure they time their run better. The Wallabies have adopted a tactic in the past of all players starting ten metres behind the kicker to build speed, although this did sometimes result in players being offside still.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 6, 2020
Goode’s comments did ignite a discussion on Twitter regarding the other complaints within the modern game, such as stealing a few feet when kicking for goal, as well as offsides at box-kicks and behind the scrum.
While there are those that feel a few feet is fairly inconsequential, they are the laws nevertheless, and it is understandable why there are demands for stricter officiating in some departments.
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