The Offload: Australia implement law trial to speed game up

Crowley finds his kicking boots; Andy Friend bemoans Connacht’s errors

World Rugby have agreed to several amendments and changes to the laws of the game that will be implemented in two matches between a Queensland President’s XV and a Queensland Reds developmental squad on October 9th and 15th that will be overseen by Australian international referees Nic Berry and Damon Murphy.

The changes were decided by Super Rugby officials, who are concerned with the amount of time elapsed with the ball out of play. They include time limits on using the ball at the ruck, setting up for the scrum, taking penalties, restarts and conversions.

Throws that are not straight will only be blown if the opposing team competes, with only three phases for advantage and there are no yellow cards for deliberate knockdowns.

A player will have five seconds to play the ball at a ruck after referee calls to ‘use it,’ 30 seconds to pack down at the scrum from when the mark is set, 60 seconds to take penalty kicks, 90 seconds for conversions and 30 seconds to restart after a conversion. A team will have just 30 seconds to throw into a lineout from when the mark is set by the referee.


The statement read: “All above infringements results in a tap [free kick] only, no option to scrum.” Following a scrum reset if there is no clear sanction in the first instance, there will be a free kick to feeding team if it happens twice. A defending scrumhalf cannot go beyond the midline of scrum.

Only contested throws to lineout can be adjudicated as not straight and only players within the lineout formation can join a maul formed at a lineout. A deliberate knockdown will be refereed as either a ‘deliberate attempt to catch’, or a ‘deliberate attempt to knock down’, which will result in a penalty kick only.

And finally, once three phases have elapsed, then advantage is over, with territorial and tactical consideration at referees’ discretion.

Number: 250

The number of appearances that Stephen Archer has made for Munster, the latest of which came against Zebre at the weekend. The 34-year-old prop has scored six tries during that time, won two caps for Ireland, and lies second in Munster’s all-time list behind fellow Corkonian Donncha O’Callaghan (268).


“We are inclined to entertain but the second half performance wasn’t acceptable. Fortunately we were able to score at the right time to keep our noses in front, but we will have to learn some lessons from it for on other days we could be on the other end of a tonking.” London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney after his side led 35-5 at one point before beating Bath 47-38.

Crowley converts

Jack Crowley’s generally excellent all-round kicking performance in Emerging Ireland’s victory over the Griquas in the first of three matches on tour of South Africa was the legacy of the work he has done to improve that facet of the game.

The Innishannon native kicked six from seven conversion, a brilliant 50/22 and a perfectly weighted grubber kick for Shane Daly’s try. He explained: “To be honest, I recognised last year that my kicking game needed to come on.

“I felt I had the element of attacking rugby but there is just that consistency within my kick that I knew I needed to get to if I want to be playing at the top level. So, I just reached out to people and put the work in.

“But also, it is down to the coaches in Munster, the coaches here, giving you that freedom. They back you if it’s the right decision. As a player that is the best thing ever. The ownership is on you to go out and execute and if you don’t, then it’s on you to work on that skill.”

He also paid tribute to the work of the coaches and his teammates. “I think it is a credit to the coaches, first to be able to create that environment to be able to gel that quickly. Without that connection, you can’t go out onto the pitch and perform. Secondly for the players, the effort from all the lads to buy into team culture and environment was the most important thing.”

Emerging Ireland’s next game is against the Pumas on Wednesday.

Errors haunt Connacht

Connacht’s director of rugby Andy Friend was understandably frustrated after watching the Irish province make individual errors that cost them dearly in a 28-14 defeat to the Bulls in Pretoria. In terms of the team metrics Connacht did many things well but carelessness cost them several very good scoring opportunities.

Speaking to the Craggy Rugby podcast he said: “We had multiple [opportunities to score tries] and the message at half-time was that individual error is killing us. We came out in the second half, and we repeated that. It is very frustrating. I am always going to be a glass half-full so I am going to look at moments where our set piece was very functional and either stopped or won quality ball.

“There were moments there where our defence held out a very good Bulls side and put them under pressure. There were moments when our stack caused them some issues but there were far too many moments where we had opportunity and didn’t capitalise. It’s not broke for us but it is not where it needs to be put right.

“Three games on the spin we have a repeat of things not going right and we have to fix that pretty quickly.”