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'They don't want to watch someone tie shoelaces': Super Rugby rule changes a success

Iosefo Masi of the Fijian Drua makes a break during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua at Mt Smart Stadium, on February 25, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Victorious Western Force coach Simon Cron has lauded attempts to revitalise the code after a frenetic start to the Super Rugby Pacific season.


Cron celebrated his first game in charge since a move home from Japan with a stirring comeback defeat of Melbourne Rebels in Perth on Saturday.

And then he gave the law-makers a resounding thumbs up.

“I love the rule changes they’ve made,” he said.

“More ball in play time, it gets people set faster.

“I used to have a heart attack when people were doing shoelaces up on the way to the scrum.

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“Why slow it down? I’m a big fan of the game speeding up, and as a supporter or people watching it, they don’t want to watch someone tie shoelaces.”

Strict time limits have been set on scrums, goal kicks, set pieces and rucks, while the television match official’s role and ability to interrupt play has also been curtailed.

The moves are a concerted effort from Super Rugby powerbrokers to reduce painstaking stoppages that have been a blight on rugby in recent years.

On Friday, the NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies produced an end-to-end thriller after the Chiefs had put the Crusaders to the sword.


Then on Saturday, Fijian Drua scored late to pip Moana Pasifika in a 70-point thriller, before the Blues scored 60 points against the Highlanders.

The Hurricanes saw the benefits of discipline and ball control in humid conditions to turn a close game into a cakewalk against the Reds in Townsville and finally the Rebels let one slip in another high-scoring affair in Perth.

“We got called up early. The ref was right, he said use the ball and we didn’t use it,” Rebels coach Kevin Foote said.

“It’s good for the game, it’s an exciting brand. I think it’s exceptional.

“I think the rugby we’ve seen this weekend has been really good, and it’s going to speed the game up, which is awesome.”


Hurricanes and All Blacks No.8 Ardie Savea agreed, even if it means he’ll be gasping for breath this season.

“Personally I need all the rest I can get (but) it’s cool because it literally goes down to who can last the longest and hold the ball the longest,” he said.

“I thought the boys did well in the second half to hold possession and we started to find a little bit of opportunity and holes.”


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1 Comment
Andrew 503 days ago

"They dont want to see someone tie up their shoelaces" Yet, in the Reds Canes game there we saw the game stop at a lineout so a bloke could change his boots in the field of play. Why wasnt he sent off to the sideline to do this while a temp replacement took his place?

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