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New laws could split Rugby into two codes



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Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O’Neill has warned of a split in the game of Rugby Unions over the introduction of new laws called the Experimental Law Variations( ELVs) which have been designed to speed up the game.

Australia has embraced the ELVs which are being trialled in the Super 14 series.

Although the IRB has announced a worldwide trial of the laws, starting in August, there is still scepticism about the new rules in Europe.

“We are talking a different language fundamentally,” O’Neill told the Australian.

“They (Europe) are entirely happy with their marketplace. They point to record crowds, Six Nations, Heineken Cup, Guinness Premiership, they like that style of game.

“I would hate to see us end up with two games, but that’s always a risk.

“We may be on a collision course where the northern hemisphere doesn’t shift and we are absolutely committed to the new face of the game.

“I don’t think we’ll get to that point, but we have to be brave enough to believe in these laws as a great improvement in the spectacle of rugby.”

Meanwhile, the SANZAR countries have not yet agreed which set of laws will be used in the Tri-Nations series this year.

Australia and South Africa are said to be in favour of under the laws used in the Super 14, while New Zealand is keen on the slightly different set of laws which will be used in the global trial.

“We’ll be seeing the New Zealanders in the next two weeks,” O’Neill said.

“Hopefully, the weight of opinion by Australia and South Africa will convince them.

“We see the short-arm (free-kick) versus penalty as being pivotal to the changes and to surrender those for the Tri-Nations would be putting up the white flag.”

A decision will have to be made before the Super 14 final on May 31.

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