Super 14 Rugby

New Zealand set to fight South Africa on ELVs


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The South African Rugby Union’s call for the dropping of the additional Experimental Law Variations has been labelled “disappointing” by their New Zealand partners.

Earlier this year the IRB 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’.


South Africa are now keen to drop the ‘sanctions regulations’ to move in line with the rest of the world particularly in the Super 14 as it will get their players familiar with the rules that the British and Irish Lions tour will be played under next year.


The ‘sanctions regulations’ were expected to used in the 2009 Super 14 and the 2009 Tri Nations.


Neil Sorensen, NZRU general manager of professional rugby, told Radio Sport that they have not agreed to SA Rugby’s request and that they could be facing an uphill battle : “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.”


This year SANZAR players have been forced to chop and change between different rules. All three nations played under the new rules and then hosted Northern Hemisphere teams under the traditional rules.

When the Tri Nations kicked off the players were forced back into the ELVs creating much confusion amongst officials, commentators and the players.

“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.”

“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.”

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