Hansen slams 'boring' rugby

2015-03-18 10:59
Steve Hansen (AFP)

Wellington - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has warned rugby union risks becoming "boring" unless steps are taken to make the game more attacking and simplify its bloated rule book.

Hansen said defence was dominating the 15-a-side code and detracting from the game as a spectacle.

"I don't think the game's boring yet but it could go that way," he told New Zealand's Radio Sport.

"I think we're victims of our own demise, we've got better and better at coaching defensively and because of that we'll have to get better at attack.

"But at the moment it seems to be a defensive game rather than an attacking game."

Accusations of playing boring rugby are often hurled at northern hemisphere teams by southern fans but Hansen said he was talking about trends across the entire game, not just in one area.

He said the laws of the game, which run for more than 200 pages when downloaded from governing body World Rugby's website, needed to be culled.

"One of the problems we've had over the years is that we've added rules in but we haven't deducted," he said.

"So we've got this mess and at some point we need to fix the mess and say 'what are the critical rules we need here and let's simplify it so people can see it and understand it and make it easier to referee?'."

Combined with the increased athleticism and speed of modern players, Hansen said hard-to-understand rules and defensive coaching were stifling attacking play.

"There's a lack of time and space, the tackle area has got no clarity about it," he said.

"(When there's) a penalty in the breakdown... no one - players, fans, coaches - has any idea who's going to be awarded a penalty.

"What does the game need? It needs clarity of its rules and you need time and space to be able to play it."

He said such a move would make it much easier for referees to enforce the rules consistently.

"It's a very, very difficult game to referee at the moment," he said.

"There's so many things they've got to look at and unfortunately, with the pace of the game, you can't see it all."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  steve hansen  |  rugby

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