Experiments in the Varsity Cup

Tue, 21 Jan 2014 18:41
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The Varsity Cup in 2014 will have three experiments which could, it is hoped, add a positive effect on rugby.

The Varsity Cup in 2014 will have three experiments which could, it is hoped, add a positive effect on rugby.

One is the extra material on jerseys to help front row players to bind more securely, the second is the two-referee system and the third is allowing a mark to be made outside of the 22.

Danie Craven, who had a massive impact on all aspects of rugby, used to use the koshuis system at Stellenbosch University, a powerful competition of over 42 teams who play intense rugby at a high level, as a laboratory to test law changes. It seems that this is a function being fulfilled by the Varsity Cup.

The addition to the jerseys was developed by the firm NO LIMITS with the help of Balie Swart and other props. The idea is to present an obvious place for props to bind and a material more conducive to secure binding.

The two-referee system was introduced into koshuis rugby at Stellenbosch in 1987 and is still in use. Statistics prove that using the system reduces the number of penalties and other stoppages adding significantly to ball-in-play time. In this system the two referees move up and down the length of the field which is thus divided in half vertically. In the Varsity Cup the two referees will be in communication. There are many top people in refereeing who believe that this is the future of refereeing, extending the length of referees' careers and reducing the amount of criticism of referees.

A form of extending the mark was also used in the koshuis system, though it will be differently used in the Varsity Cup,

In brief by this change a mark may be made from an opponent's kick anywhere in the field on the same terms as the mark inside the 22 but not confined to the 22. The player who catches the ball has the option of running with it or making the mark. If he makes the mark he is allowed everything that is allowed under a free kick, in that he is allowed to kick the ball, opt for a scrum or tap and run. If he taps and runs the opponents must be 10 metres from him before they react.

It is hoped that this will discourage aimless kicking on the one hand and encourage counterattack on the other.

The Stellenbosch system was different. If a player kicked an opponent could raise an arm to show that he intended to mark the ball and then he became untouchable and could claim a scrum there the kick was made.. That system also made for more attacking rugby and much less kicking.

All three of these changes are made with improvement in mind.

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UJ 8 5 0 3 25
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Wits 8 4 0 4 21
NWU-Pukke 8 4 0 4 19
NMMU-Madibaz 8 2 0 6 11
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Fort Hare 6 4 0 2 20
UKZN-Impi 6 4 0 2 20
WSU 6 3 0 3 14
CPUT 6 2 0 4 10
TUT 6 2 0 4 9
Rhodes 6 1 0 5 6