Venter: Defence to rule rugby

2012-03-07 22:19

Cape Town - Former Springbok centre Brendan Venter says unless referees change the way they officiate, rugby will remain a game in which teams focus more on defence.

The Stormers are one of the teams who have received some criticism for their recent lack of impetus on attack and while they are reportedly working on it, coach Allister Coetzee admitted that the main focus will remain on defence.

"We'll still be better off if we score fewer tries, but in the process not concede any," Coetzee told Die Burger.

And Venter, the current technical director of English club Saracens, feels referees are making it too easy for the defending team.

"The coaches are now paying more attention to defence because they will do whatever is necessary to win matches.

"Until referees start making it worthwhile to attack, you will see coaches spur their teams on to kick and rather play without the ball. The referees are making it too easy for the defensive team and (too) hard for the attacking team.

"They (the referees) have gone totally overboard with the issue of players smothering the attacking team's ball at the breakdown area. How can a player stay on his feet if he tries to drive his team-mate forward in contact?" said Venter.


  • Sean - 2012-03-08 00:21

    I agree 100% !! Just a pitty the ref plays such a big part in this years Super Rugby !! Some teams are not better , just luckier !!

      Jason - 2012-03-08 07:06

      This brings me back to a comment I made on another thread a week or so ago, lets use the same scoring system currently being tested by Varsity Cup. They are scoring tries! 8 points for converted try and only 2 points for penalty and drop goal!

  • Grant - 2012-03-08 03:00

    The officials have managed, in their wisdom, to turn rugby into a rather trdious sport.

      Alan - 2012-03-08 08:42

      Absolutely, they are trying to merge rugby union and rugby league. Now I have watched a it of league and it is worse than watching paint dry. Did you read Andre Watson's comments last weekend that if they don't sort out the scrum collapses and resets this year then the irb intends on doing away with scrums altogether. Sounds like 1 too many kiwi's involved in the irb and pushing very hard for a rugby league style sport - hellish boring if you ask me. So to all the props out there - start scrumming properly, sort it out or loose your job and a legendary part of the game will be lost forever. The aussies started this scrum collapse thing to cover an obvious weakness in their game but now that kiwiland has joined them it is farcical. I say ping them off the field and reduce their teams to 13 or 12 for continued collapses - refs must be afraid of pinging them as the stats prove their teams are in more collapses than any other teams wordwide. They are the serial offenders so punish them rather than ruin the game by alternating penalties between teams because international refs don't understand the scrum.

  • Ian - 2012-03-08 06:01

    This is 100% correct. Rugby is becoming more and more boring because of the league type defensive paterns all teams now play. The scoring of tries has become secondary. I now watch less and less rugby. Just to downright boring.

      Deon - 2012-03-08 09:23

      Still the Bulls managed to score 6 tries last weekend. If you attack long enough the tries will follow.

      Geoff - 2012-03-08 11:48

      And the week before Deon angainst the Sharks - how many tries? Sure against weak defensive sides tries will be scored. The reality is the Kiwis and Aussies, after 2007, complained so much that SA won the WC with 1 try in the semi final and final. They said how can we make this game harder for the Springboks with their big and fast forwards so they started to change the breakdown laws hoping to negate size and speed and this is where we are today. If you make it virtually impossible to win the ball at the breakdown then why attempt to! Rather fan out and defend and wait for a tackler to dislodge the ball and get a turnover.

  • Emmanuel - 2012-03-08 07:00

    Could not have said it any better. Well said, thank you Mr. Venter.

  • Marius - 2012-03-08 07:20

    They should go back to the breakdown rules of the 70's where you can dive into a loose scrum and secure the ball by any means possible. Let the strongest player win the ball. You never had any forwards standing in the backline to defend, because they were all in the loosse scrum fighting for the ball and far more exciting backline tries were scored then, because it was down to one-on-one defence. You only had to be better than your immediate opposite number in attack or defence. It will also reduce the influence that a ref can have on the outcome of a game significantly.

      John - 2012-03-08 08:31


      Alan - 2012-03-08 08:45

      Marius you are onto something, it seems for commercialisation the irb has introduced laws that allow them to easily alter the outcome of the game and hence ensure their "chosen" team can win the tournament, match, etc. Thing is, we all know this and the only way to combat it is to withdraw our support - when the money gets less they will start to take note.

      Geoff - 2012-03-08 11:49

      I agree 100%

  • Bigrp - 2012-03-08 09:00

    I am going to venture a guess that nobody that has commented so far, has ever refereed a match before...we don't make the laws, only have to officiate according to them. If the powers that be tells us to focus on a certain set of laws, we have no choice but to adhere to it, because if we don't, we can be "rested" or downgraded.

      Heiku - 2012-03-08 09:43

      Please explain why every referee has different laws then

  • Anton - 2012-03-08 20:55

    Some refs seems to rather blow the game instead of refering the game

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