Before we start realize the position I take re Law is that it is the responsibility of coaches and players to exploit the Laws to gain a competitive advantage. This doesn’t mean deliberately breaking the Law but it does mean exploiting them . It is in this way that the game of rugby has evolved and developed. For those who complain about the changing of the Law appreciate what I have said above, it creates a real challenge. What keeps the game true to its character is the principles of the Playing Charter:
- Contesting Possession.
- Attack by carrying the ball forward.
- Defend to regaining possession to once again attack.
- All this creating a multi-faceted game that caters for a range of physiques and abilities.
- A game that rewards play that enhances the continuity of play and penalizes play that aims to stop play.
It is against these principles that the game should be judged and the Laws altered should the game be losing its unique character.
Lets take this argument to the line-out and see what we can get out of Law 19.8(a):
“Minimum. At least two players from each team must form a lineout.”
It would seem that once the defence has 2 players in the lineout the attack can throw the ball in. So long as it is thrown in straight play should continue. If a team has a full lineout the ball can be thrown in once the opposition has just 2 there. It is not the role of the match official to assist the slow forming team to get set. As the team without the throw they are the team that has taken the ball out of play and should not receive consideration at the re-start. Why then slow things down to the disadvantage of the non-infringing team?
On the other hand, if the current management of lineouts continues there is an advantage in allowing the opposition to form so that the second forming lineout can position to create a miss match.
It would seem that these two strategies should be the starting point of lineout strategies and are a basis for simplifying lineout play.