This season we have seen many more injuries than ever before, it can’t be a coincidence that the number of top flight injuries has gone up significantly since the recent law changes which have undoubtedly sped up the game, leading to more high speed collisions, which whilst great for the spectators is taking it’s toll on the oversized super humans we now see in every position on the pitch.
This year, World Rugby announced six new law changes that have had a significant impact on how players act at scrum and ruck time. They were aimed at making the scrum and ruck simpler to referee and easier to watch but what it has also done is speed the game up.
For instance, take the changes at the scrum, the team putting the ball into the scrum are now obliged to hook for it which means teams can no longer simply try and drive over the ball, which often resulted in stalemates and eventual collapses, slowing the game down. No.8’s can now pick the ball out of the second rows’ feet with the aim of helping to get the ball away from a scrum quicker and No.9’s are able to stand with their outside shoulder in line with the middle of the scrum, meaning they are closer to their own team, arguably making it easier for them to get the ball out.
In pre season tests, it was determined that fewer penalties came from scrums and there were fewer collapses, with the ball being fed quicker which has achieved what the RFU were trying to do, but I believe that’s clearly been at the expense of the players safety.
The other changes were targeted at the ruck area and were brought in to make the tackle area easier to referee with the tackler becoming less of a hindrance for the attacking team, also speeding the game up.
So whilst nobody can argue that the changes have achieved what they were set out to do for the game, I don’t think anybody wants to see players getting stretchered off every 10 mins with serious injuries so what is the solution?
Would love to get your thoughts?