Rassie Erasmus reveals radical plan to save rugby
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springboks Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus says he wants World Rugby to introduce two referees as part of a three-point refereeing plan to improve the sport.
The South African predicts rugby could be heading for ‘trouble’ if it doesn’t move to clean up the grey areas of the game that frustrate so many viewers and put off potential new fans.
Erasmus, who was banned by World Rugby in the aftermath of the British & Irish Lions series, revealed he wants more officials involved in Test rugby.
Writing in his Daily Mail on Sunday column Erasmus calls for a radical rethink of how the breakdown and the scrum are officiated.
He also called for the length of time kickers take to kick to be properly policed.
“The idea of two referees sounds radical and it has been tried, but it can work if done correctly.” Erasmus stated, adding: “If it’s efficient and non-intrusive, it could make a massive difference around the tackle/breakdown area.
“The breakdown is so complicated for players, coaches, referees and fans alike. As a referee, you need five pairs of eyes to see what is going on at a breakdown — otherwise, you are guessing.”
The 49-year-old added: “For international rugby, why not form a group of world-class scrummaging experts — former players or coaches — to serve as specialist scrummaging referees?”.
According to the column, scrum experts would be allowed to roam the sidelines and then run onto the pitch to officiate scrums when the set-piece is contested, even if the former front rows used as scrum experts would have to be kept relatively fit to execute the role.
“Get them in the gym so they are on and off the pitch quickly. It would be their only job, so they would have no impact on the rest of the game.
“There are about 20 scrums a match so you could even put a microphone on them and link them up to the TV commentary team so the viewers understand what’s going on. ”
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‘Stop the clock’
He also wants the ‘shot clock’ on kicks to be more strictly managed. Currently, penalties must be taken within 60 seconds and conversions within 90 seconds.
“We are regularly involved in matches where the kicker goes 20 seconds over the allowance,” bemoaned the former Munster coach.
“If there are six kicks at goal in a match, that could waste two minutes of ball-in-play time. Put a countdown clock on the big screens and if the time runs out then they lose the kick.
“If we want to see more ball-in-play time then we need to make sure there is less ball-out-of-play time. If a team goes into a huddle before a lineout, stop the clock. If a guy goes down to tie his shoelaces or take a drink before a scrum, stop the clock. We could easily increase the ball-in-play time by between seven and 10 minutes by enforcing the laws as they are written and again no one will have to adapt to any law changes.”
Erasmus also wants the sport to adopt the long-talked-about global calendar, which he believes will put teams on a level footing going into Test matches.
“If we had a global season, everyone could start adapting on one specified date and nobody is playing catch up.”
By Ian Cameron, Rugbypass
*Additional source: DailyMail