Rugby: Not for dummies anymore

You know the stereotype.  Rugby players are dumb.  They are the fat overweight props that won’t amount to anything in life, and then the fast 100m athletes who become wings, but cannot catch a ball, and then the only smart guy on the field is the flyhalf or scrumhalf who decides where the ball must go.  The rest are dumbasses that barely scraped through matric, don’t study at varsity, and spends all their time playing with balls.

Almost as dumb as boxers who get their brains bashed in all day long.  Rugby players are just a bit smarter cause they let their bodies take the beating.

Which then would lead one to the conclusion that the dumbest beings on earth surely must be Rugby players who box…

That may have been true some decades ago. You know, at the time when guys like James Dalton and Johan le Roux were playing.  But nowadays, with the law changes getting more and more complicated, it stands to reason that players just can not afford to be dumb anymore.  Pick a dumb player, and you get Dean Greyling diving with his elbow into Richie McCaw right in front of the Referee. Pick a dumb player, and you get Werner Kruger packing at tighthead for the Springboks.  Pick a dumb player, and you sit with a player in the bin for at least 10 minutes every match.

Players have just started to get the knack of the laws which were introduce since 2009.  The roll-away-tackler-and-tackle-assist-and-release-the-ball-all-of-yous laws.  They have hardly started getting the rythm of the “crouch-touch-engage” turned into “crouch-touch-pause [pause] [pause] PENALTY!/ engage” scrum calls and then it changed in to “crouch-touch-set as recently as the Springboks’ last tour to Europe/

And then some other laws really get players confused.  You may not play the ball from the wrong side. Unless you are the tackles and got up to your feet. And there is not yet a ruck.  Some players still struggle to tell the difference between a Ruck and a Tackle ball.  God, even some Referee’s struggle to tell the difference!

So, with all of these laws just starting to sink into the brains of Rugby players everywhere, and us thinking that we may finally be able to start seeing the basic things of Rugby on the field again as players get used to sorting out the more complex issues, the IRB has gone and added 11 new laws to be tried this year.  I kid you not. ELEVEN NEW LAWS.

As if trying to remember who you are playing over the next 6 months is not enough, players now have to learn 11 new laws, on top of the new laws they had to learn, and did not get right, in the last 36 months.

The learning curve regarding the 2009/10 law variations in Super Rugby is quite evident in the graph below:


Impact of new laws on penalties and tries


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