The revamped club rugby tournament in Australia is looking to make like the Varsity Cup and introduce a few new rules in the hope to make the game more attacking.
The National Rugby Championship (NRC) kicks off tomorrow when Brisbane City take on the Sydney Stars at Ballymore in Brisbane, and organisers are hoping to see a better brand of rugby given the tweaks to the rules they will be playing.
The experimental changes include using the Varsity Cup scoring system which sees 2 points awarded for a penalty and drop goal and 3 for a conversion. This in the hope of lowering kicks at goal, and encouraging teams to play on. Which it does, but the Varsity Cup has become a bit of a kick for the corner and set up the maul fest!
Instead of 3 points for a conversion (that penalises the coast to coast, 24 phase try in the corner) why not just award 6 points for all tries, and ban the driving maul from a lineout that is 10 or less metres out?
But the other suggested changes are interesting:
Scrums: Forwards will get just 30 seconds to set a scrum, barring legitimate injuries, with it able to be moved if the injury is only minor. The defending scrum half will also not be allowed to follow the ball in between the flanker and number 8.
Mauls: Referees will try to stop the ‘hold up tackle’ by making sure that defenders who hold a ball carrier up don’t immediately collapse a maul to force a turnover.
Time: The referees will decide when penalties have been awarded during stoppage time, allowing teams to kick for touch before time expires.
Bonus points: Teams will no longer be awarded a bonus point for scoring four tries in a game, with the bonus point now awarded to the team who wins by three or more tries.
The changes come after more than 600 suggestions were put forward to the ARU.
“While maintaining the integrity of the game, we want to see a more creative style of rugby being played where risk and attack are rewarded,” said ARU chief executive Bill Pulver, who is hoping to bring in global change with these trial rule changes.