Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

ELVs – the never ending experiment by David Clarke

Rugby coaches around the world are pouring over their tactics and working out whether the new laws have made a significant difference to the game.

In the Northern Hemisphere, two complaints have made most of the headlines: more kicking and inconsistency at the breakdown.

Just a moment…

Inconsistency at the breakdown? That is not talking about an ELV. It is a directive from the IRB for referees to stop “bridging and sealing”. However referees are not controlling this area in the game in the same way. Recently criticism has been aimed at Jonathan Kaplan, the well-respected South African referee in the way he dealt the ruck area in two separate Tri Nations games. “A free for all” said one coach about the last game after he had been very harsh in the previous match.

Okay, the referees are feeling their way into this part of the game. It will take time for the consistency to come.

And it will also take time for teams to kick less. Kicking has a number of upsides in terms of territory and pressure. But, in the future, it will be used less frequently as weapon because:

1. Kick return systems will become more sophisicated to deal with the increase in kicking, making it less profitable to kick.

2. Possesion will become a premium again as sides find different ways to break down defences because the ruck is more competitive, tying in more players.

The ruck is still going to be under IRB ELV scrutiny. The division below the top tier in France is trialling the “free kicks for penalties and turnovers” ELVs this season. The uncertainty continues.


1 Comment so far
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With the ELVs the IRB has made rugby the laughing stock of the sporting world. Different laws in different countries and different tournaments, its beyond belief and all when the game was going so well. All to bow to pressure from Australia to allow them to compete with rugby league and aussie rules. Well thanks a lot. The full ELVs as used in the super 14 have created the most unpalatable version of the game, with willful cheating punished by a free kick, the death of the yellow card as a preventative for technical offences and constant mindless kicking of up an unders till someone messes up. In the northern hemisphere at the same time as new laws we decide to completely change the interpretation of the ruck but don’t tell the teams till august; could have been coaching this pre season and avoided the current difficulties. mad mad mad

Comment by David Trueman

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