South Africa take a stand on ELVs
September 24, 2008
The All Blacks celebrate with the Bledisloe and Tri-Nations cups following win in the 2008 Tri Nations series Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium on September 13, 2008 in Brisbane, Australia.
New Zealand celebrate capturing the 2008 Tri-Nations title © Getty Images
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South Africa are attempting to bring southern hemisphere rugby into line with the rest of the global game by taking a stand against Australia and New Zealand over Experimental Law Variations (ELVs).

The South African Rugby Union want to ensure the 2009 Tri-Nations and Super 14 competitions are played under the same laws as next summer's Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

That means ditching the controversial 'sanctions regulation' - where most penalties are replaced by free-kicks - which was used in this year's SANZAR competitions but does not feature in the global ELV trial.Australia and New Zealand are supporters of the sanctions regulation and believe it makes rugby a better product for spectators.

In a statement released today the South African Rugby Union said:

The South African Rugby Union has advised Australia and New Zealand that it believes that the 2009 SANZAR competitions should be played under the global Experimental Law Variations (ELVs).

South Africa's SANZAR partners were advised of the position overnight on Tuesday. The matter will be discussed at a SANZAR executive committee meeting in Sydney on October 15.

Australia and New Zealand have expressed a desire to continue playing under the hybrid ELVs that applied in this year's Tri-Nations series. The major difference between the two sets is that the hybrid ELVS award free kicks for offences that are generally penalties under the global ELVs.

"We are playing the Absa Currie Cup under the global ELVs, we will play the Springbok end of year tour matches under the global ELVs and, most importantly, we will play the British and Irish Lions under the global ELVs next year," said Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union. "Australia and New Zealand will also be playing their internationals under the global ELVs this year and next.

"For consistency's sake and to allow our Springboks the smoothest possible preparations for next year's crucial series against the Lions it is vital that we play under one set of Laws.

"We have had five sets of ELVs apply in South Africa this season and it has been confusing to the public and even to the referees, who have shouldered a massive burden. One set of laws for all matches is the only way to go."

The global ELVs came into operation on August 1 and will run to the end of July in 2009. The IRB are meeting early next year to review the laws experiments and will decide what set of laws the game will play under from August 1 2009.

"We went with the hybrid ELVs for this year's Vodacom Tri-Nations for the sake of consistency after playing them in the Vodacom Super 14," said Mr Hoskins. "For the sake of consistency we must now join with the rest of the IRB in playing the global ELVs.

"I trust we will be able to reach a consensus with our partners when we meet but if that is not possible then we may have to go to arbitration on the matter."

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