Is rugby broken?

2013-10-09 11:18
Rugby ball

Jake at Sharks training

2013-10-09 10:46

See pics of Jake White's first training session with the Sharks.

This is something that has crystallised in my mind – and the blurb invites us to share what’s on our minds. I realise mine will not be a popular view. Yes, I’m born and bred South African, but the rugby hype has passed me by. If one distils the essence of football into a single phrase, it would be fair to say that “the object of the game is to score goals”. That’s the point. To get the ball in the net. What is the point of rugby? To score tries? No. Because penalties can win a game. Maybe the object of the game was once to score tries, but rugby has ceased to be that pure concept. The different points system that is used in the Varsity Cup shows I’m not the only one who thinks something has been lost. The time it takes to score a try is seldom worth it. Why play 20 phases to get nothing? Take the 3 and move on. And the kickable penalties will come. A penalty in football is comparatively rare, and it doesn’t introduce a new method of scoring – it’s still about getting the ball in the net. But rugby penalties (especially in rugby union because, unlike rugby league, all parts of the game are contestable and consequently has too many rules for the breakdown areas) are frequent, and they do introduce another method of scoring. To me, it undermines the validity of the sport. No longer is the game about scoring tries, because you can win a rugby match by kicking penalties from inside your own half. And all the point scoring stats show that the biggest scorers by miles are the kickers. What is rugby about? Is it about engineering kicking opportunities?

So my question is: is rugby broken? You’re welcome to disagree, but let’s keep this polite. I’m posting the topic here because it doesn’t really apply to Super Rugby / Currie Cup / Boks. It’s a meta-question to get people thinking.

Read more on:    mysport24

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