Kiwis frustrated by South Africa ELVs stance
September 25, 2008
Will next year's Tri-Nations be played under the hybrid ELVs? © Getty Images
The South African Rugby Union's call for the dropping of the additional Experimental Law Variations has been labelled "disappointing'' by their New Zealand counterparts.
When the International Rugby Board announced a global trial of 13 ELVs, which began on August 1 and runs until the end of July 2009, the SANZAR unions - South Africa, New Zealand and Australia - were given special dispensation to trial three further experimental laws known as the 'sanctions regulations'.
The three further ELVs state that most offences are punishable by free-kicks rather than penalties, while failure to clear the ball at a ruck or maul sees a free-kick awarded to the team not taking the ball in, and were set to be incorporated in the 2009 Super 14 and Tri-Nations competitions. But with the global trial now under way and all international matches to be played under the 13 ELVs from now on, South Africa are keen to abandon the sanctions regulations to move in line with the rest of the rugby-playing world, particularly with the British and Irish Lions touring the country next June.
New Zealand and Australia want the use of the sanctions laws to continue in next year's Super 14 competition but because all decisions within SANZAR have to be unanimous that seems unlikely to happen, unless the South Africans can be persuaded to change their stance at a SANZAR executive committee meeting in Sydney next month.
Neil Sorensen, NZRU general manager of professional rugby, told Radio Sport: ''It's not a done deal. SANZAR needs to meet on October 15 to ratify this and no doubt Australia and New Zealand will be trying to talk South Africa into getting back to trialling these additional ELVs. We are struggling uphill if we can't get South Africa to agree to continue to trial them. It's an experiment and it's an experiment which is not going to see its full tenure and that's disappointing.''
Sorensen admitted that all the chopping and changing between the different sets of rules this year had led to some confusion.
The New Zealand players in the Super 14 played under the ELVs then had to revert to the traditional laws for Tests against Ireland and England in June.
They then switched back to the ELVs again for the Tri-Nations series against South Africa and Australia but will play under the 13 global ELVs for the final Bledisloe Cup match against Australia in Hong Kong on November 1 and the international matches in Britain that follow.
"It has been a bit of a mess and we would be the first to admit that,'' added Sorensen. "You're always going to get that when you have a worldwide trial over a number of different competitions and over about two-and-a-half years by the time it is finished.''
He added: ''We thought it would be thorough to continue the trial and hopefully get some competition in the northern hemisphere to trial these sanctions and then decide at the end of the trial whether they have achieved the objective that they set out to do at the start of this review.''
© PA Sport