Woodward calls for anti-rucking law change

10:00 AM GMT

Sir Clive Woodward has called for the anti-rucking law to be changed while World Rugby boss Bill Beaumont will meet referees’ manager Alain Rolland to discuss the ruckless tactic Italy used against England on Sunday.

Their decision not to compete at the breakdown, leaving no offside line, provoked a huge response from coaches and players. Eddie Jones dismissed it as not being rugby while Matt Dawson said the tactic deployed by Conor O’Shea was a “total farce”.

Italy went on to lose the match 36-15 but, on the flip side, there was also admiration for their intent to try something different to combat Jones’ England.

  • How Italy hatched their ruckless masterplan

    Nicknamed “The Fox” and the brainchild of Brendan Venter, Italy’s tactic of not contesting the breakdown caused mayhem at Twickenham. But the ploy was almost killed off 24 hours before kick-off.

Woodward, writing in the Daily Mail, praised the tactic as being “innovative” but has now called for the law to be changed.

“I have rarely known an incident cause such debate! I admit, now the dust has settled, my view on Italy’s anti-rucking tactic has altered. It can’t be allowed so the law must be changed,” Woodward wrote.

“Rugby must have an offside line and, in that respect, I support England coach Eddie Jones when he says World Rugby need to act in redefining what constitutes a ruck and the offside line. The thinking seems to be that the offside line should be drawn the moment a tackle is completed and that seems right.

“We must now make sure this is a one-off. Italy did nothing wrong technically but it’s not in rugby’s interest to have showpiece games hijacked like this.

Imagine the shambles at all the rugby clubs around the world next weekend!! #shameonyouConor

— Matt Dawson (@matt9dawson) February 26, 2017

“If Italy had won it would have been big news – for the wrong reasons – and there would have been an even bigger stink. Imagine what would happen if a World Cup was won by a team using such tactics?”

And the Daily Mail reports Beaumont, World Rugby chairman, will meet with referees boss Rolland on Tuesday to talk over Italy’s tactics.

“Is it a loophole? I don’t know,” Beaumont told the Daily Mail. “Italy felt they were acting within the laws of the game, which they were. I’m not criticising Conor O’Shea or Italy because what they did was legal. Everyone was taken by surprise and it proved most of us have to revise our knowledge of the laws.”

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18787062/sir-clive-woodward-calls-anti-rucking-law-change-italy-tactics
Woodward calls for anti-rucking law change
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