LETTER : Kick out rules that discourage running

SPORTS LETTER
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The Independent Online
From Mr A Richards

Sir: As an Australian who was born in Wales I have little truck with England winning at any sport but I do think that your leader was a little unfair to the England rugby union team. Under the rules, England are quite entitled to kick themselves to victory, even if you now have the extraordinary situation that the team at the bottom of the Championship (Wales) have scored three times as many tries as England, who are second.

You were much closer to the mark when you stated that the rules should be changed to encourage a running game. The number of "offences" from which a penalty kick at goal can be taken is absurd. The game is forever being brought to a standstill. If an offence warrants a penalty then it should be taken in front of the posts. At the moment the value of the penalty varies according to where the offence occurred. This makes no sense to me.

Most offences should be treated as free kicks and the offending side should retreat by 20 metres to encourage running.

Finally, why do we put up with conversion kicks? This also slows the game down. Everyone knows that some of the best tries are scored in the corner yet this decreases the chance for the attacking side to take seven points. Tries should be awarded the full seven points.

In this environment teams would have to play "handball" as opposed to "football" - even England.

Yours sincerely,

ANDREW RICHARDS,

Wimbledon SW19 5DG

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