Rugby Union

Welsh premiership rule change could provide exciting running rugby

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Wales' second tier of rugby, the Welsh Premiership, have decided to change the scoring system in their league, to encourage entertaining running rugby.

Under the trial system tries are increased from five to six points in value, while penalty kicks and drop goal values have been reduced to two points rather than three.

Two benefits

The move will surely be welcomed by those looking to see more try action in the months ahead and there are two points as to how this may improve the game.


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Point one is that teams who rely on a big pack to force penalties in the other team's half will no longer be all powerful. Meanwhile, teams that score tries but don’t play the pragmatic game as well will have more of a chance to beat teams who play up the jumper rugby.

The general point is its fairer, teams will have to out play their opposite team rather than try and play the referee.

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The main benefit of this scoring trial however is that it will bring a more entertaining variety of rugby to the pitch. This will work well for the second tier teams as more exciting games will attract the larger crowds that have been lacking for many Welsh premiership teams.

Neath forwards coach and former Wales international Gareth Llewellyn told BBC Wales:

“I'm not sure it will change the game that much, just make it a bit more positive in the scoring zone so people will not just take two points when you can get eight for a converted try.”

This will mean teams are more likely to kick to the corner for a line out, or take a scrum, than go for the post, which is the norm at the moment for most teams.

Positive influence

With a hopeful shift towards more positive rugby, we may also see the return of the rarer breed of fly-half.

The running footballer who may not be able to kick a goal form the halfway line, but could make a break there and run a try in.

If this change was to come at international level there is a chance that players who have been side lined due to their unpredictable playing style may well make a return. Players like James Hook, Danny Cipriani and François Trinh-Duc may well go back to pulling the strings of their respective teams.

At the moment defense is king, whereas under this score adjustment it would behove coaches to spend more time developing strategies to unpick other teams' defenses than working on making their own ironclad.

It would certainly be nice to see games like some that were seen in the nineties with score lines of 38-20.

I was watching Stephen Jones reminisce last night about some of the best games he been involved in, or seen, and all I could think is even in heartbreaking losses to New Zealand the Wales score line was something like 50 point to 30.

Where as in Wales' last victory over South Africa the score line was 12-6. A masterfully engineered victory yes, but not quite a pulse raiser. It will be interesting to see how this score adjustment impacts the game.

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