Bulls coach Jake White says the jury is still out on a raft of new trial laws that have been adopted for the Rainbow Cup SA.
Though his team continued their impressive form with a 22-9 win over the Lions at Loftus at the weekend‚ White expressed some misgivings over the changes.
To achieve their goal of winning new fans and gaining more TV viewers‚ rugby bosses have tinkered with the laws. Changes for the duration of the Rainbow Cup include red card replacements‚ a captain’s challenge and goal-line dropouts.
Pro14’s sports and regulatory committee hopes the new dynamics will allow for positive play and enhanced decision-making outcomes.
It was a captain’s call that prevented Morné Steyn’s pinpoint cross-kick from turning into a try for Bulls speedster Madosh Tambwe in the 70th minute due to a skew lineout throw.
“It’s going to be one of those things you have to get used to‚” White said. “I haven’t particularly enjoyed the captain’s referrals all the time or things like when you carry over the ball you get a goal-line dropout
“But again‚ that’s maybe because we’ve just been used to the previous laws over time.
“I don’t believe it’s ideal. The red card rule is to be expected. There’s a massive push overall for players to abide [by] the laws‚ change their height when they go into contact‚ defensively and on attack. I suppose the first round of action provided evidence that if you’re not going to do it‚ you’re going to be found out.
“It’s something we’re working on hard‚ breakdown-wise‚ carrying low‚ defensively making sure you’re body position is fine. If it’s going to speed up the game and make it safer, then fine.
“We want young boys to play rugby‚ not mums saying that it’s too dangerous. We want to grow the game and if these nuances and laws are going to help‚ then we’re for it.”
White was left frustrated by his team being denied two further tries after interventions from the TMO‚ Marius van der Westhuizen. Lock Janko Swanepoel’s first-half try was scrapped by a knock-on at a previous breakdown‚ and Stravino Jacobs could not claim a stunning winger’s score because of obstruction at a lineout.
“It was frustrating‚” White said. “Every time we thought there was some daylight between us and the Lions in terms of the scoreline‚ we were back at square one. But the fact that we won is all that mattered.”
Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen said he feared the worst after influential fullback Tiaan Swanepoel left the field with a suspected ankle injury. “We’ll have to see what the doctor says‚ but it sounds serious‚” he said. “It’s definitely a lower limb problem.”
Bulls captain Nizaam Carr said the win was not pretty but he was happy with the result. “We didn’t get to do the things we pride ourselves on‚ but looking back‚ the captains’ referral ruled out three tries for us and it’s something we have to get used to‚” Carr said.
Lions skipper Dan Kriel admitted his team could not handle the pressure towards the end of the second half. “I think we worked very hard and were in it for 60 minutes‚” he said.
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