South Africa
SARU approves halfback scrum restrictions
ESPN Staff
January 27, 2015
Defending No.9s won't be able to make a nuisance of themselves at scrum time in the Varsity Cup © Getty Images

The South African Rugby Union has followed the lead of its Australian counterparts in a bid to achieve greater scrum success in its Varsity Cup competition.

The Australian Rugby Union last year introduced a number of law variations for its inaugural National Rugby Championship to help promote running rugby and reduce the stoppages which continue to be a blight on the international game.

0ne of the NRC's variations was to restrict the defending halfback's movement at scrum time and keep them from entering the channel between the attacking side's No.8 and flanker, thus providing the opposing scrum-half with a greater opportunity at clean ball.

SARU has gone a step further for its Varsity Cup competition however and restricted the defending halfback's movement to the mouth of the scrum in a move that is likely to please fans at home and abroad.

The Varsity Cup, which is effectively South Africa's fourth tier competition, has also brought back the white card challenge system where captains and coaches may refer a particular decision to the Television Match official.

It's the scrum-half rule which will likely have the game's law-makers watching on with interest however, particularly as scrums continue to be one of rugby's great problem areas. Fans continue to be frustrated by endless resets and penalties while the defending halfback can prove a nuisance even on clean scrum ball.

The Varsity Cup kicks off on February 9.

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