RugbyX, the brainchild of former Fiji coach Ben Ryan, kicked off its first-ever tournament at London’s O2 Arena on Tuesday and has been met with plenty of controversy.
The new format of the game is played on a half-size pitch with 5 players on each team (which would’ve made RugbyV a more appropriate moniker, given the naming conventions of other rugby variants).
RugbyX has been dubbed a faster variant of the game, with quick lineouts and smaller scrums as well as only one way to score – tries (keeping with other forms of the code, tries are still worth 5-points, however).
Rule changes include banning kicks higher than 10-metres (the ball is equpped with a sensor) and setting a limit on the number of players that can get involved in rucks and mauls.
All in all, it’s a slightly more contracted game of sevens.
There is one particular change to the laws of the game that has left fans absolutely baffled, however – the tie breaker.
In the instance of a draw, play moves to a one-on-one situation with the winner decided by who scores three tries first.
For fans watching the game, it became quickly obvious that every possession would result in a try – which meant that the player who started with the ball had an insurmountable advantage.
Tellingly, every sudden-death result fell the way of the team who had first possession.
Fans took to Twitter to vent at the absurd law.
I feel like first to 3 isn’t a fair way for 1 on 1, surely 3 each and then sudden death or something? #RugbyX
— RugbySeconds (@RugbySeconds) October 29, 2019
Enjoyed #rugbyx but that 1vs 1 needs work. Maybe the attacking player needs to catch the ball first from a pass or a ball released from the roof… Extra drama gives the D more of a chance
— Allan ®ees (@Rees13A) October 29, 2019
Except that the winner is 'first to 5 tries' and ENG went first.
So, whilst we were expecting USA to take their 5th attack, instead ENG were awarded the win.
— Adrian Papprill (@Papprilla) October 29, 2019
Women's #RugbyX final was decent enough and it was great that England won, but I don't get why both teams don't have an equal number of attempts in the 1v1. It's clearly unfair, especially in favouring the team that was behind for most of the game
— Jon Gibbon (@jonnypg_GB) October 29, 2019
Does anyone else feel the 1-1 doesn't make sense? Youd have to be MUCH faster than someone to be able to go from stand still to catching them up when they're coming at you at full speed #RugbyX
— Charlotte S (@CharSherm111) October 29, 2019
Great that England won but that 1 on 1 bit first to 3 points is very unfair #RugbyX
— sam (@moorsy11) October 29, 2019
The overall consensus regarding RugbyX seemed to be that the variant showed potential in its inaugural tournament but there are also plenty of issues to iron out.
There are no further RugbyX competitions scheduled for the future, as yet.
Rassie Erasmus was typically candid in his latest press conference leading up to the Rugby World Cup final:
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