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'There are too many laws': Ex-All Blacks react to Wayne Smith's comments

By Ben Smith
Former All Blacks coaches Wayne Smith and Graham Henry have reunited to try replicate their success with the Black Ferns. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Former All Black wingers Sir John Kirwan and Jeff Wilson have supported Wayne Smith’s calls for changes after the former Black Ferns head coach criticised the state of the game.


The ex-All Black assistant coach made waves when he said he “switched the game off for the first time in his life” while watching the Highlanders play the Force, during which five yellow cards were issued.

Smith, who is a vocal advocate for removing the driving maul from the game, expressed his frustration with the number of stoppages in the game, as penalty after penalty leads to set-piece after set-piece.

Kirwan agreed with Smith’s views on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown, stating that too many rules interrupt the flow of a game

“He will always have solutions,” Kirwan said of Smith’s criticisms.

“But I think the frustrating thing for us is there are too many laws, even the Blues game last night, every second ruck the ref has his hand out for a penalty.

“This is what Wayne is saying. What’s happening then is they are kicking to the corner, they are mauling, there is scrums, re-scrum.

“I pre-recorded the Blues game and I’m just fast-forwarding it, fast-forwarding it.”

Ex-All Black Wilson had a solution that would force teams to commit more numbers to a ruck by removing the jackal at the breakdown.


He said that allowing players to snatch at the ball is ‘killing the game’.

“Hands in the ruck is killing the game,” Wilson said.

“Everyone thinks they can steal it at any time, particularly at lower grades.

“I just want one grade to try where all you are doing is contesting for possession with weight over the ball, pushing past the ball and that’s the only way you can win it.

“You have to commit more numbers to the breakdown, what does that do? It opens up space.

“You get to a point where it is just a mess.

“You think of an amateur referee, he has no ARs, no one telling him in his ear.”

“If we don’t think outside the square, take the game forward, like Wayne Smith is talking about, make it more attractive, easier to referee and more fun to play, for more people to play, we will lose the battle.”




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