Wallabies star slams scrum clock idea
SPOTLIGHT: Rugby’s big men have found a vocal supporter in an unlikely place after pint-sized Wallabies back Andrew Kellaway shot down the notion of a scrum clock for Super Rugby Pacific.
Representatives of all 12 teams as well as member unions and broadcasters met to discuss the future of the rebuilt competition last week, with potential rules changes at the heart of their intention to provide a better spectacle.
A 60-second clock to form a scrum was raised as a way to increase ball-in-play time, a sore point particularly in games featuring Australian teams in the first edition of the expanded season earlier this year.
Suggestions like a player draft and removal of yellow cards for knockdowns have found support.
But veteran Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa and Andrew Kellaway, who could play fullback against South Africa in Adelaide on Saturday, were far less accommodating of any plans to rush scrum time.
“We’ve got to be careful, don’t we?” Kellaway said.
“It’s a niche area of the game where you’ve got guys doing a specialist skill.
“We’re asking these blokes to compress a spine for a living.
“And someone in a suit has the nerve to ask them to hurry up.
“If I was Al [Alaalatoa], which I’m not fortunately, I’d be pretty filthy about that.
“I think there’s so many other areas we can pick up in the game. The breakdown is another one before we have to start going picking on the scrum.”
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Alaalatoa was more diplomatic but acknowledged that only those who put their heads in dark places could understand what was being asked of them.
“We don’t want to set up a quick scrum and then engage because then we put ourselves at risk of injuring our neck or our back,” he said.
“We understand we need to put something in place to make it more attractive to the crowd.
“We need to implement that first at training, or take one year to at least practice that, because I feel like if we don’t get it right, someone will get injured.
“If we don’t implement that at training we are probably going to be high-risk come game time.”
The 50-22, goal line drop-out, golden try extra time and 20-minute red card have all been relatively successful since being introduced in Super Rugby.
Kellaway said changes to the deliberate knockdown laws, exposed by Izaia Perese’s head-scratching yellow card in Australia’s Test against England in Brisbane earlier this year, would be welcomed.
As would a televised, pre-season player draft that would allow young talents stuck in a long queue at one club to flourish with game time at a Super Rugby rival.