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'I think that's ridiculous': Blues coach Leon MacDonald, All Blacks star react to World Rugby's proposed law changes

By Online Editors
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Blues head coach Leon MacDonald has dismissed law change proposals from World Rugby’s medical group in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus once the game is back up and running again.


The game’s global governing body has suggested that scrum re-sets and upright tackles should be scrapped, while also recommending that teams change jerseys, headgear and wash their hands at halftime.

Former All Blacks playmaker MacDonald rejected those concepts, though, as he highlighted that players and coaches are already doing as much as they can to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

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In conversation with Richard Kahui
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In conversation with Richard Kahui

“Look, if we play the game, we have to play it properly,” he said.

“We are taking all the right precautions and wherever possible, we will adhere to the safety recommendations, but once you get on the park and you’re tackling and all that, you have to be ready to play.

“It’s going to be a tough competition, so we have to make sure we are contact-ready, and just trying to get that balance right between safety and match-ready.

“I think we probably would have had a directive by now, if we were going to have no scrums, so we are expecting everything to look like rugby when we resume.”


That’s a sentiment shared by All Blacks and Chiefs halfback Brad Weber, who didn’t mince his words when asked about the potential law changes to the scrum.

“No, I think that’s ridiculous,” he said. “When you’re making tackles or cleaning out, it’s pretty much exactly the same.

“We may as well play touch rugby, if that’s what they’re suggesting.”

MacDonald, meanwhile, was excited by the prospect of deploying new star signing Beauden Barrett in the Blues’ first match of the Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign, which will be against his former side the Hurricanes at Eden Park in just over a fortnight.


“He’s a student of the game. He does his homework. He’s thorough. He likes to know his role and everyone around him. His preparation is meticulous. The way he prepares his body and kicks – he’s a real pro. He knows what he needs to do to perform,” MacDonald said.

“Ma’a [Nonu] was like that last year for us. Beauden spends as much time in the books as he does on the grass. The young guys are learning from that so you can’t put a figure on that mental shift.”

Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks-off between the Highlanders and Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on June 13.


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