National Rugby Championship
Australia ponders rugby rule overhaul
ESPN Staff
March 25, 2014
Stephen Larkham is a fan of some of the new laws but warns against mass-overhaul © Getty Images

The Australian Rugby Union is contemplating making changes to rugby's rules ahead of the launch of the National Rugby Championship.

The inaugural NRC is set to kick-off in August and will run through to November. It has already been hailed by ARU CEO Bill Pulver as the "missing link" for Australian rugby and reports in the Daily Telegraph claim the organisation is contemplating bringing in some new laws to help improve the spectacle.

According to the newspaper, changes being considered include: reducing penalties and drop-goals to two points, increasing conversion to three points, stopping the clock for scrums and an increased policing of the breakdown area with an emphasis on penalising infringements.

The ARU's general manager Andrew Fagan told the newspaper: "With regards to law changes, it's genuinely all on the table. We'll go out to the public and pick up some of the things they're most interested in.

"Some early feedback has come around limiting time on scrum resets, we've spoken about points changes for tries and penalty kicks and conversions. We're not looking to make wholesale changes to the game, it's just little points of interest that might provide some excitement for the spectators, and maybe proving a leading light for international rugby.

"We look forward to our Twitter accounts getting bombarded over the next little while, we'll take it on board. Obviously the game of rugby is still the game of rugby, but we'll take some steps to trial a few things."

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is a fan of reducing the points for penalties but has warned against changing the fundamental laws of the game.

"Changing the amount of points [three] for penalties is a good idea, making it more valuable to score tries is the key," Larkham told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It all needs to be around making sure the ball is in play a lot longer and the team gets rewarded more for tries, or a law change which gives teams opportunities to score more tries.

"I like the contest or scrum, maul and lineout, people need to appreciate those intricacies of the game. Everyone would like to see [attacking rugby], but the game is quite complex. You don't want to see the contest taken away. They have to be very careful with the changes they make ... there are different elements of rugby which make it unique and, I'm a traditionalist, I think they're important in the game."

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