ARU hopes attacking teams get rewarded - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ARU hopes attacking teams get rewarded

By Adrian Warren 02/02/2010 07:56:38 PM Comments (0)

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill believes the northern hemisphere nations could step into line with their southern rivals and reward attacking teams at the breakdown, even if the rules can't be changed before next year's World Cup.

Australian Super coaches were largely supportive of the SANZAR decision to look more favourably upon the attacking side at the breakdown hot spot in this year's Super 14 and Tri-Nations tournaments.

While the experimental law variations were dismissed by the northern hemisphere O'Neill believed they might philosophically fall into line with the south after enduring some wretched rugby late last year.

"There was a lot of criticism in the northern hemisphere in November about how negative and boring some of the rugby was," O'Neill said at the Super 14 season launch in Sydney on Tuesday.

"I think some of the messages are getting through in the north on a slightly delayed basis.

"When England played Argentina the week after we played them, at half-time England was booed off the park, if that starts happening, you know something is wrong.

"I think we could all end up on the same hymn sheet philosophically.

"The laws aren't going to change between now and the World Cup, it doesn't mean your approach to the style of rugby you want to play won't change."

Bolstered by star Wallabies Rocky Elsom and Matt Giteau, the Brumbies were the popular tip to be Australia's chief standard bearer in the 2010 Super tournament.

Brumbies coach Andy Friend believed SANZAR's directive to referees about the breakdown would help his powerful side.

"The new laws and the desire to have entertaining rugby definitely fits with the Brumbies style," Friend said.

Waratahs coach Chris Hickey felt the directive could tilt the balance back towards attacking rugby, though he thought it could take a while before there was a consistent interpretation from the referees.

"I think under the interpretations we played last year, the pendulum was 60-40 towards the defensive team," Hickey said.

"If the new interpretations bring the contest back to 50-50, that should hopefully supply all teams with an opportunity to try and get continuity in their play."

New Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie felt while the game wouldn't be as loose as last year, the attacking team would still be rewarded.

"It will tighten up a little bit, but if you're got good attacking players, you will get more reward," McKenzie said.

His Western Force counterpart John Mitchell thought his new look side had enough backline versatility and forward depth to prosper under the SANZAR directive.

"We will play to our strengths and I'm a great believer you've to earn the right to play entertaining rugby and certainly we will be wanting to get the balance between attack and a kicking game," Mitchell said.

The tournament, which will be expanded to 15 teams next year with the introduction of the Melbourne Rebels, commences in just over a week, with the Reds hosting the Waratahs and Force entertaining the Brumbies in two all-Australian matchups.

O'Neill said there was ongoing dialogue between the ARU and Melbourne over the signing window for locally based players, but didn't want to comment on whether there would be any changes to the end of May window which the Rebels would like brought forward.

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