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Gold: Scrum law change 'impracticable'

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One World Cup team boss brands new scrum law change an 'impracticable, box-ticking exercise'

There has been widespread approval from players and former players after World Rugby recently outlawed ‘pre-loading’ in scrums.

However, current USA head coach Gary Gold has raised a few questions about this decision. ‘Pre-loading’ is where front rows press their heads into the shoulders of the opposition between the ‘bind’ and ‘set’ calls in the scrum. 

This puts a huge amount of pressure on their necks and could have terrible consequences. From now on, a side that is caught doing this will be penalised. 

However, the former Springboks assistant coach has said on Twitter that it is “mechanically impossible” to implement this law change. 

The laws state that there should be space between the front rows before the scrum engages, but that there should also be a legal long bind between props. 

(Continue reading below…)

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A long bind provides more stability in the scrum and makes it harder for props to manipulate the opposite player. Gold is effectively saying that ‘pre-loading’ is inevitable if props are to have a legal bind in the scrum. 

While Gold supports a lot of what World Rugby are doing, he has claimed this is “impracticable and a box-ticking exercise”. This is what he said: 

The former Bath and Worcester Warriors coach also went on to raise another question, which relates to how this law change is enforced. 

‘Pre-loading’ is something that both sides do more or less simultaneously, and Gold has therefore questioned who the referee chooses to penalise. 

Already this looks like an area that may cause controversy among teams next season, where they may feel wrongly accused by officials and hard done by. 

The World Rugby Law Review Group met recently in London to discuss these law variations, as the ultimate objective is always to make rugby safer. 

They were helped by international hookers Jamie George, Ken Owens, and Rory Best, who would have all provided input from a professional player’s perspective. 

There is no doubt that this new law will do away with a needless and dangerous aspect of the scrum, and while Gold will, of course, support the pursuit in making the game safer, he is simply highlighting the impracticality of this decision. 

The law will be implemented immediately, so it will not take long to see if Gold is right in branding this new law “mechanically impossible”. 

WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on the many adventures that fans experience in Japan at this year’s World Cup

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One World Cup team boss brands new scrum law change an 'impracticable, box-ticking exercise'