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'Difficult to watch': RA's plan to make Super Rugby Pacific more entertaining

By AAP
(Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

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Rugby Australia’s brain trust will gather to discuss the state of the game after repeated calls from frustrated coaches to encourage a more free-flowing, compelling product.

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RA boss Andy Marinos admitted on Monday “the shape of the game is of primary concern”, particularly in Australia’s crowded market with rival footy codes now in full swing.

“We’ve got to make sure the product that’s out of the field is compelling,” he said.

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Why the Brumbies are the team to beat in Super Rugby Pacific | Aotearoa Rugby Pod
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Why the Brumbies are the team to beat in Super Rugby Pacific | Aotearoa Rugby Pod

“It’s not only sitting at the feet of officials, it’s also in how we’re approaching playing the game.

“We’re going to be getting together as a collective and drilling in how we get a better flow and shape to our game.”

It comes after Brumbies coach and Wallabies assistant Dan McKellar joined Queensland Reds opposite Brad Thorn in voicing his frustrations over the stop-start nature of Super Rugby Pacific games.

“Wallabies coach Dave (Rennie) would probably like a little bit more footy being played, I think everyone would as well, players more than anyone,” McKellar said after his side’s loss to the Reds on Saturday.

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“Everyone’s got a part to play in making the game a spectacle and more entertaining. Players, coaches, the mindset we take in and the messages we drill in and the officials.

“It’s a complex game and if want to treat it more and more complex … it can be difficult to watch at times.”

Thorn’s cries to just “get on with it” followed a Reds win over the Fijian Drua that featured frequent penalties and drawn-out video reviews of minor infringements.

Meanwhile World Rugby boss Alan Gilpin said the crack-down on high contact, which currently involved a trial for a 20-minute red card, wouldn’t relent.

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A focus on safety and avoiding concussions has seen regular red and yellow cards for high contact shown in games on both sides of the Tasman.

“The most important issue for the game is safety … we’re trying to make the game as safe as possible, but at the same time a great spectacle,” Gilpin said.

“We want people to want to watch and play rugby, and kids to be inspired by that … it’s a really tough balance to strike.

“We’re in a complex collision sport where those decisions are being made in fractions of a second.

“We have a lot of sympathy for players … (but) over time you’ll see players and coaches adapt to that.”

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