World Rugby has proposed a number of changes in recent weeks that have divided fans significantly. The Nations Championship is something that still has swathes of critics who are yet to be won over.
However, after the recent World Rugby symposium, it looks as though there is a new hot topic for discussion amongst fans on social media and that is the proposed 50/22 law variation.
The new trial is borrowed from rugby league’s 40/20, and would allow a team in possession to earn an attacking lineout if they kick from their own half into touch in the opponent’s 22 with the ball bouncing.
It is almost impossible to introduce a new concept like this without facing opprobrium, and that has happened in this instance.
This is what the skeptical fans are saying on Twitter:
The 50/20 tweak is interesting but potential for aerial ping-pong followed by driving maul just leaves me cold…
— Keith Clarke (@KeithClarke1) March 21, 2019
If you can’t kick a ruby ball or you aren’t a lifter/jumper in the lineout try another sport.
— George Lewis (@glewisfed1888) March 21, 2019
Not sure if I am a fan of this it could add a lot more non ball in play time to the game reduce running Rugby.
— thomas o brien (@ktf81) March 21, 2019
— Mark Liversedge (@liversedge) March 21, 2019
This 50/22 rubbish would kill rugby dead. It’s already an absolute kickfest at the highest level. Say goodbye to 50+ metre line breaks and tries. Who comes up with this rubbish!? You think a 50/22 is a difficult kick!? ?????
— Callum ? ? (@CallumCouch) March 21, 2019
More rolling mauls. Brilliant!
— huw thomas (@huwjpthomas) March 21, 2019
50 is too far and will be too easy. I presume they would ideally want to do 10m line to 22, but don’t want to be accused of copying RL exactly.
— Chris Richards (@RichardsChris81) March 21, 2019
No it's making union like league, what next uncontested scrums?
— MacAndra Caomhan (@CaomhanMacandra) March 21, 2019
I don't agree with the 50/22 rule. Union is already a game with a lot of kicking ball away. This would not help the flow of an attacking game IMO.
— Nick Cotterill (@NNickcot) March 21, 2019
The initial fears amongst these fans is that rugby would become dominated by kicking and driving mauls. The term ‘kick tennis’ has become infused into rugby vernacular in recent years, and some think that this new proposal will lead to kicking dominating rugby at the expense of running.
However, World Rugby are saying that it will lead to the opposite. As defending sides add numbers to cover the backfield, that will create more space in the defensive line, which will facilitate more attacking rugby. Tactical kicking will still play a pivotal role in the game, if not more so, but it will also reduce the chances of an attacking team facing a defensive wall consisting of 13 or 14 players.
With the large number of concussions remaining one of the major concerns to World Rugby, this measure is supposed to reduce the number of head-on collisions due to the increase of space in defensive lines.
This is what many of the fans that are in favour of this proposal are arguing, as there is a considerable portion of supporters that are backing this new trial. This is what they are saying:
I think it's a fantastic idea.
Not just because of the defenders, but the art of tactical kicking is dying (IMO) and it's part of the games identity I (Personally) think needs to be preserved.
— thedeadballarea (@thedeadballarea) March 21, 2019
The 50/22 law trial would definitely help free up space for attacking teams to get in behind the defensive wall
— Justin Phillips (@phillipstaffy) March 21, 2019
Some great ideas here.
— Anhydras (@RonnieG303) March 21, 2019
Saw "New Law" and my instinct was 'ugh, this will be bad'
I actually love it. Who doesn't love a more expansive game and kicking tactics?!
— Ailbhe (@Horsebox1986) March 21, 2019
The 50-22 idea is genius ????
— christian green (@RaversgGreen) March 21, 2019
Some good ideas in there Alex. I particularly like the 50-22 idea. Will bring some more skill into the game and possibly create more attacking opportunities by reducing defenders.
— Haydn Davies (@haydn_davies) March 21, 2019
Loving the 40/20 proposal
— Cillian Hogan (@Cillian_Hogan) March 20, 2019
Player welfare is at the forefront of World Rugby’s thinking, and it looks as though they are consistently trying to make rugby safer. Alongside this, other proposals are being made with the aim of reducing injuries, but as expected, this new kicking trial has split fans.
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