New laws are a positive : Cooper


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The Blues Assistant Coach Cooper who recently joined the Blues from the Highlanders where he was Head Coach for the last four years is a fan of the new Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) that will be trialed in next year’s Super 14 and believes they will be a positive.

‘We have been aware of the ELVs for some time, and have our findings on them. We are not afraid of what could eventuate and have strategies in place for the changes. But the key priority at the moment is the players’ conditioning, the development of the skills and the functional side of rugby, such as scrummaging, lineouts, and contacts areas,’ Cooper says on the Blues website.

‘It’s also important to bring everyone together and throw out the tag of the new boys. We can’t afford to operate with players thinking they are new boys. That has to be put behind us as soon as possible, and is going well.

Speaking about Nick Evans who also left the Highlanders Cooper says, ‘The first thing to know is that Nick is a decent person, works hard and is a good team man. Already you are seeing the character of the person in that he has been training with the team, even though the All Blacks don’t have to be here yet, as he wants to earn the players’ respect.

‘The challenge for everyone including David, Liam, myself, and the fans, is to allow Nick to find his feet. Nick will not just turn up and overnight set the world on fire ‘ well he might you never know.

But we need the scrum and lineout to operate well, and for the clean-out to do so as well ‘ if they do that we will see an outstanding Nick Evans. There is no question about that.’

Some Australian players have experience with the ELV’s as they were used in the Australian Rugby Championship and this might give some of the Aussie teams a headstart but Cooper’s overall reaction to the changes is positive.

‘I think they are positive. I have to put a proviso over that, as we still have to wait and see, but the detailed analysis would suggest they will be positive for the game.

‘The scrum change with defences back five metres means the attack can get past the gain-line, which create opportunities, particularly if you have power runners who can run the ball.

‘With more indirect penalties, the ball will be tapped more, and away from scrums, so guys will run with the ball more. In essence it is positive, and as long as we can raise our conditioning, (or aerobic capacity), we can maximize our opportunities on defences that are fatiguing with our power runners.’  

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