Rugby Union and the ‘new’ LAWS (August 2021). Excuse me Sir, Where are we going so fast? – Rugby Union is back…-pedalling fast and furiously!

Dear Rugby and Sports Readership at large,

My comments and opinions on these recent ‘magical’ solutions concocted by World Rugby and its boffins…are not very positive, a bit over-critical, yet are mine and exactly as I see it, without any sugar coating or anaesthetics. Am still trying to get my head around them. These well paid and well travelled rugby ‘expert’ Lawmakers continue ‘tackling’ the symptoms of this endemic problem which started well back in 1995 once the IRB declared “RUGBY IS NO LONGER AMATEUR” (bull-dust!) Those Lawmakers referred to above, operate with a very amateurish attitude and mentality, BUT THEY COMPLETELY IGNORE THE ORIGINS!

The Original FOUR PRINCIPLES of Rugby Union are:

  1. Go Forward
  2. Support
  4. Pressure (when without the ball)


To win (by 1 point or more). Otherwise, why do we keep the score?

In my opinion, the ESSENCE and overriding PHILOSOPHY of rugby union is to provide for both teams at any given time, to one the ‘opportunity’ to ATTACK, and the other CONTEST the ball and territory! And the referee and the Laws are the enablers of the match and the show. There you have it, simple as…

Since 1995, TV rights (News Ltd. / Rupert Murdock) owned the rights (to call the shots) on the Southern Hemisphere. While the Northern Hemisphere had all the business and rights to TV, big sponsors, corporate hospitality, travel packages to the HK 7’s and others, the exclusive rights to the RWC, etc. etc. You can now see that TRUGT (Rugby Union Gravy Train) never travelled too far away from Rugby, Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Dublin, and Edinburgh, with the occasional side trip to Paris!

OK, now we have the framework provided by the traditionally aristocratic orchestra ‘conductors’ (or shall I say, the Directors, Delegates and Board Members of TRUGT, let’s see How we control this ‘no-longer-amateur’ pandemonium? Shall we?

First and foremost we need to control the rules and tighten everything up so we (IRB) can make as much money as possible with the wonderful PRUGC (Professional Rugby Union Global Circus). Somebody will have to keep the ‘boyos’ under control (you know scrums, rules, etc.). The Referees were elevated to the demi-god status first. Later inundated with rules, and more rules, microphones, transmitters, ear pieces, then a corroboree with the linesmen, then a GPS tracker, now the wonderful ubiquitous TMO, and now subject to the execution by 1) Their peers, and 2) Social Media (a la Rassies’ Videos). The Rugby World administration is obsessed with SPEED, EXACTNESS & PRECISSION (?) – Let me tell you = It has been proven many times over, SPEED KILLS or leave you disabled, on a wheel chair, a clinic or in a coffin, often suicide is a consequence of the ‘demolition derby’ that rugby union has become today. The Referees need to be given more DISCRETION (if it looks good? play on) – This will alleviate their brain for more serious and crucial decisions!!

Just hours ago Dr Danie Craven was mentioned by South African columnist and rugby consultant from Cape Town, Alan Zondagh.

What Dr Craven doesn’t know (he’d be turning in his grave from disgust and sadness), as well as Alan and the whole of World Rugby, copletely ignore that, since 1995, the over-officious appointed referees have been killing rugby’s No 3 principle CONTINUITY.

  1. The super fast ball coming out of TRUE RUCKS. Some idiotic decision abolished them!
  2. The more stoppages you have (TMO consultations, and replays, chats with both linesmen, give lectures on TECHNIQUE, and TACTICAL instructions (use it or lose it), ‘managing’ the players and the match? But now, the Captain’s Chat and Challenge? – WHAT A LOAD OF NONESENSE.
  3. Referees are not super-human-computers who get it all right. The HELP from technology is so UNHELPFUL. Stop-the-stoppages and you’ll get an average speed, much better than stop-star-stop-start affair… I learned in my first game at 19 yrs old in 1971, “The Referee is ALWAYS right, particularly when is mistaken” – Never wrong!

Back in 2006, a group of about 35 referees from the UK and Ireland, where summoned to The Lensbury Club (Shell Oil Co employees’ club), with the precise mandate to “fix the bloody scrum”. And after a three day talkfest they did… They came out with the novel idea of staging the scrum engagement in a very ‘staccato-like’ four timeless steps. The bewitched and aghast CROUCH-TOUCH-PAUSE-ENGAGE sequence.

After the disastrous consequences of not-controlling-anything, (plus the added spinal injuries at all levels, in various countries including Argentina and Australia), in 2013 the IRB formed the SSC (Scrum Steering Committee) to RE-FIX-THE-BLOODY-THING. It was unreal to see (I dealt with them a couple of occasions at the time), it was constituted with players/delegates/and some professionals, who never packed down a scrum. In the meantime, I offered the services of a Thinktank Group I assembled and called SEL (Scrum Experts Lobby) formed by no less than 15 former international players, coaches and referees. NOT A WOO, WE WERE COMPLETELY IGNORED.

La Amansadora – from the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba RC 1971-1977, (many temperaments were forged, and egos tamed, with this wonderfully rudimentary scrum-practising piece of steel.

Do you have doubts about my claims? No worries, go and buy my 2nd book published in September 2015 (just before the RWC). Titled ‘Rugby-The ART of Scrummaging, ISBN 978-1-78255-059-4 (From page 348-359, you will see quite a few documents, factual data, recommendations and the like). I am the 100% author and writer, published by Meyer + Meyer Germany. Multi Award Winning author, with The ART of Scrummaging 1 (Self-published with RFOS, August 2012).

My work and studies of 50 years has always been dedicated to SAFETY FIRST and the preservation of Health and Wellbeing in athletes. Hence my recent initiative of ISSF (International Sports Sciences Forum) – Since May 2020.

“The worst blind person is the one who doesn’t want to see”


Founder & General Convener ISSF (

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