Deans backs Super 14 rules
February 23, 2010
Robbie Deans has backed the new Super 14 law interpretations © Getty Images
Robbie Deans believes that the new tackle law interpretations have already proved a success in the Super 14.
The Australia boss, Super Rugby's most successful coach with the Crusaders, endorsed the referees' handling of the opening rounds and insisted that they were 'close to perfection'.
While there has been no change to the laws, a tackler is now required to roll away completely before contesting the ball. Referees adhering to SANZAR's directive have seen positive results and Deans believes that they should now be looking to stop players wrecking quick ball by going off their feet.
"We're very close to perfection I think, so if they can get the whole picture right and lift the height of the ruck we'll have a great game - and I think we've seen evidence of that already," he said. "Dealing with the first event [the tackle] is relatively easy and having dealt with that they can now turn their focus to the arriving support players and insist that they play the game on their feet, because there is no need now to launch with your shoulders below your hips to remove bodies off bodies.
"So given the referee is going to cater for that, they should be able to enter the ruck higher, there's still an incentive to go there for both sides so there'll be a genuine contest. The risk is if referees don't insist on attacking support players playing on their feet then essentially the defence will opt out of the contest and then we'll end up with a cluttered D-line that we had a couple of years ago."
The Chiefs' 72-65 victory over the Lions last weekend raised eyebrows and fears that the game would become too open, but Deans thinks that there was simply evidence of what can be achieved with a positive attitude and gameplan.
"That was living proof of what is possible if you're constructive," he said. "If you're prepared to play you've got a chance, but if you're not prepared to play then you're probably limiting your chances.
"But clearly the Lions were in a context where they were out of the game so they had no choice but to be constructive, be positive and try and carry the ball. Possibly the Chiefs contributed to it because they were so far ahead they didn't feel the need to contest and resist to the same extent that they might have if it was tight, but the outcome from a spectacle perspective was great."
Deans confirmed that this year's Tri-Nations will be played under the new law interpretations, and also that southern hemisphere referees should be using them when calling Six Nations games in the coming weeks. South African officials Jonathan Kaplan and Mark Lawrence will take charge of Wales v France and England v Ireland respectively this weekend.
"I understand from some conversations I've had that our blokes who are going up to referee in the Six Nations have been instructed to referee exactly the same way that they are here," he said.