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IRB close to Perfect Game with ELVs : Deans

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Agreement on the most contentious of rugby’s experimental laws is close and will produce the “perfect game”, says Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.


Last month’s International Rugby Board conference on the ELVs recommended most of the new rules be adopted, but there was no agreement on the crucial proposal to punish most offences with a free-kick instead of a “full-arm” penalty, reports the NZ Herald.


Deans was at the conference and says those against the “sanctions” rule, predominantly northern hemisphere nations, soon realised they were essentially on the same page as those for it, including Australia.


“We actually discovered that we were talking pretty much the same language because the challenge in the game hasn’t changed … the biggest challenges are around the contact area, around the tackle, the ruck,” Deans told reporters.


“We’ve produced a prescriptive approach – free-kick, free-kick, free-kick, penalty – which is flawed.


“Within the letter of the written law, there was the ability where (an offence) was clear, evident, blatant, deliberate to go straight to a full-arm and we all agreed that if we had our time again we would go to that sooner, but we’d retain the ability for the referee (to award a free-kick) where it wasn’t clear.


“Now there’s an average of about 24 total sanctions, 17 of them would be free-kick, seven would be penalties.


“You turn those around, you’d be close to the perfect outcome and we agreed on that. We’re not far way, personally I think, from the perfect game.”


The final recommendations will be drawn up by the IRB’s rugby committee for the governing body’s consideration next month. They would come in to force from January 1 next year in the southern hemisphere and on August 31, 2010 in the north.


“The solutions are the key … easier for the referee, easier for the players, easier for the spectators, players to produce results as opposed to referees,” Deans said.


“If we chase those and achieve those the game will be better for it – for all parties.”


Sapa Rugbyweek.com

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