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VIDEO: Tappe Henning says Bok scrum is safe

July 1 will see the introduction of a series of law changes – just in time for the mid-year internationals.


The World Rugby Council recently announced a package of law amendments that will hopefully make the game more entertaining.

These include the infamous Dupont law (it is no longer possible for a player to be put onside when an opposition player catches the ball and runs five metres, or passes the ball, offside players must attempt to retreat), the banning of the ‘crocodile roll’ in the tackle area and the ‘no scrum from a free kick’ adjustment.

The latter, the free kick amendment, is the one that caused the biggest outcry, especially from the ill-informed couch ‘officials’.

Most felt it was a deliberate attempt to ‘depower’ the Springbok scrum – based on the decision made at the World Cup last year by Bok fullback Damian Willemse.

This was not just bold, but the first time it happened on the global stage and still ranks as one of the most iconic incidents in South Africa’s march to a fourth World Cup title.

United Rugby Championship Head of Match Officials Tappe Henning said the melodramatic reactions to the announcement of the free-kick law change may have been misguided.


The change was not just about Willemse’s iconic call at the World Cup.

Henning said Bok supporters can mellow out, but the power of the scrum remains untouched.

It will remain an integral part of the game.

* (Article continues below the video of #THAT iconic moment ….)


“It is not about that decision,” Henning told @rugby365com.

“It is about the reset of the scrum and the time it takes to reset a scrum – sometimes repeatedly.

“A free kick from a scrum, which is a technical infringement, brings another scrum, then another scrum.

“We’ve had occasions where both teams – when attempting to get scrum dominance – would select another scrum from a free kick.

“It is something spectators don’t enjoy and they have spoken about it.

“World Rugby has done research about how many times that happens in a game.

“The decision was based on that [research], it wasn’t based on one team or one decision.”

(WATCH as URC Head of Match Officials Tappe Henning chats to @king365ed about the law changes that will come into effect on July 1 – including the ‘no scrum from a free kick’….)

Video Spacer

Henning added that the goal is to bring more flow to the game, less stoppages and less time wasting.

Asked if these changes would change the characteristics and peculiarity of the game of Rugby Union, Henning admitted he is also ‘old school’ and loves a good scrum.

“I spoke to one of our coaches in a feedback session about that aspect,” he told @rugby365com, adding: “We discussed the scrums, which were a challenge in the Ospreys versus Munster URC quarterfinal, and the importance of maintaining and protecting the set piece.

“Scrums and mauls create space – bringing 16 players into a small space and leaving space out wide.

“It is an integral part of the game that should remain.

“It is what makes Rugby Union different from other sports – not just the contest for the ball, but also the set-piece contest – like Rugby League and other sports similar to our game.

“We have to make some adjustments to make it more attractive, but a good scrum and a good maul is also attractive.

“We, the purists. would like to see that stay in the game and we support that.

“However, those resets are becoming irritating, even for the purists.

“We are protecting that and it remains in integral part of the game.

“I believe it will never disappear from the game.”


In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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