Thu, May 15, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Australian rugby to put experimental laws to vote

Reuters, SYDNEY

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is to put ideas for experimental laws for their new National Rugby Championship competition to a public vote.

Ideas will be solicited from fans on social media, and shortlisted by a panel including current and former Wallabies coaches Ewen McKenzie and Bob Dwyer before being voted on by the public.

Rugby union is often criticized by fans of rugby league, which is more popular in Australia, for the lack of attacking play, the amount of kicking involved, the time consumed by set scrums and complicated laws.

ARU boss Bill Pulver suggested the panel, which also includes former Wallabies utility back turned media pundit Rod Kafer and former international referee Wayne Erickson, will be looking for suggestions on how to make the game more attractive.

However, all experimental law changes will still have to be approved by the International Rugby Board and Pulver said they have to maintain the integrity of the game.

“Based on the outcomes of their first panel meeting, I know they all recognize the need to maintain the fabric of the game that makes it so great,” he said in a media release.

“Already we’ve seen the impact ... McKenzie has had in introducing a more creative style of running rugby to our Test team and this is an attitude we want to foster across all competitions in Australia,” Pulver said.

The new nine-team competition is to be run on an annual basis for 11 weeks from late August to early November and aims to fill the gap between clubs and Super Rugby, in a similar way to South Africa’s Currie Cup and New Zealand’s provincial championship.

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