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VIDEO: Bok prop weighs in on scrum law change

VIDEO: Unlike Rugby League, in Rugby Union every player has a role to play and one part of that is the scrum – a weapon to gain dominance.

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Lions scrum coach Julian Redelinghuys added his voice to the new ‘fan-focused’ law change relating to the scrum on Tuesday as he sat down with the media.

The Bok played eight Tests for the Springboks between 2014 and 2016 when he was forced to retire at the age of 27 after he suffered a serious neck injury during the Currie Cup semifinal against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

One of the new laws proposed by World Rugby, which will come into effect on July 1, is that a team can no longer call for a scrum from a free kick like the Springboks did during the World Cup when Damian Willemse called for a scrum from a mark in the semifinal against England.

The explanation from the world body is that the law change will “increase the sport’s entertainment factor” to attract new audiences and grow the sport.

Redenlinghuys compared rugby to rugby league, explaining that in rugby, every guy has his place.

“Not a lot of teams have made use of the scrum specifically from a free kick.

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“By them taking that away, it’s just giving Damian Willemse more TV time,” an always smiling Redelinghuys quipped.

“Obviously, the scrum is a big part of the game.

“If it wants to be like League where they have similar size guys and they play differently – what we appreciate about rugby is every guy has his place.

“We have different players for different roles with a scrum and a maul – I think the maul is also one where everyone is always debating – but it is two places where you can legally get dominance which is a massive part in rugby.

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“I think for the industry [it’s important] to manage the scrums and the process of the scrum so it’s still a good contest but it doesn’t take up ball-in-play time,” the coach explained.

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Asked about the shot clock for scrums that will be trialed during the Under-20 World Championship, Redelinghuys reacted very positively.

“There I will come up for the spectators because the frustrating thing for everyone is when a scrum is reset like three times, and the wings on the edge just want the ball and now they are just looking at a scrum falling down and getting up again.

“I think that’s a good strategy.

“You want ball-in-play to be as high as possible to let these guys that have X-factor do their thing so that people want to watch the game because that is ultimately how you generate income for the game,” he said.

The experienced former prop reiterated that scrums remain a way to get legal dominance for a team, even for a team like the Lions that are very intent on playing an expansive game of rugby.

He shared statistics on their last three games and how many times they opted for a scrum on their own ball.

“What we find, in our last three games against Leinster, Munster, and Cardiff – on our own ball we’ve only had six or seven scrums in three games. So it’s just over an average of two.

“And on their ball, a little bit more.

“So Munster and Cardiff, [they] kicked the ball the whole time. Then you don’t have the opportunity on your own ball when your loose forwards are in, to dominate as much.

“So you have to dominate on their ball, which means their loosies are not standing up.

“There will always be scrums in the game. With us wanting to play the ball a lot, there are a little bit more errors than other teams because we try to play expansive rugby.

“So there will be scrums because of that,” he concluded.

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