The Premiership view on ELVs

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The great ELVs debate is likely to rage long and hard throughout the season, so we asked 12 Premiership coaches for their early assessment of the controversial laws.


The ELVS have not been too bad to be honest, there's not a great deal of difference. At Bath we are all pretty excited about the new laws and how they are going to speed up the game. There will be changes to the way we play, we have to continue to evolve as a team or else you go backwards and the application of the ELVs will determine some of that. We've got our ways of doing things and several options now in the way we do things.


We've done our research but we don't think they will have a massive effect on the game. Our No.8 Dan Ward-Smith could be a major threat from the base of the scrum with the new five metre law; it gives us a potent attacking weapon because sides will have to worry about him, freeing up other areas for us to exploit.

DEAN RYAN (Gloucester)

The theory is that they will increase mobility which is the style we've been developing, but it's always been the case that it's your choice whether you want to be mobile or static and the game still allows that. You just hope that the interpretation is leaning towards mobility so it may help us, but there are an awful lot of variables as we go forward.

DEAN RICHARDS (Harlequins)

I don't think they'll be a problem. You've just got to accept that they're there and if you've done you're homework on them then hopefully you've got your game plan in place, have a good understanding of what they offer and play around them. No mauling, lots of running, it would have been a bloody nightmare for me! I doubt I would have got to the dizzy heights I got to playing under these rules. I'd have probably turned to darts or snooker or something like that.


There's not going to be a huge difference. The free kick law would have really increased the speed of the game but that is not being implemented. So with penalties rather than free kicks, the difference is going to be negligible.


The breakdown is a forgotten area and it's a mess. The stupid thing is the current law has all the answers if we refereed it. If the players arrive on their feet, making it a contest for the ball, so you are driving players off it, fine. You don't want everybody off their feet, going up the side, everywhere. I wouldn't want to change the maul much. The biggest impact has been at the line-out. It's become a lottery.

JIM MALLINDER (Northampton)

It's a question of getting out there and seeing what happens. I think it will take a few weeks if not a few months to iron out those issues. I know referees still have a few question marks about how the laws will change the game. The ELVs won't change our style, we are fairly clear how we want to play and the scrum is still valuable. The lineout is going to be crucial as always, we can put as many numbers in as we want so that's going to take time to see how defenders are going to read that. In general play, the ball will be in play a little bit more and that suits us because we are a mobile side.

STEVE BATES (Newcastle)

It's going to throw up all sorts of different tactical stuff so you're going to see innovations. The other interesting factor is going to be the refereeing. What's been crucial is the referees have been concentrating on them rather than concentrating on other aspects that make the game function. They need to go back to focus on what is important in the game, then the ELVs will have minimal impact apart from the fact that you can't drive the lineout very easily anymore.

MIKE RUDDOCK (Worcester)

We had a problem in the tackle area at times last season. We were top of the yellow card league. That was a major reason why we were losing games - guys in the bin; that's why we brought in Hugh Watkins as a consultant ref, working with the players to get a greater understanding of the new laws, coaching in terms of technique in the tackle area. Hopefully we'll give away less penalties.


Nothing is being refereed in the same way. It's been like a swimming pool at the breakdown, with arms all over the place. We don't know what is happening. What will spectators see? It is massively difficult to predict. In good conditions, we may have a quicker game. In wet weather, I am sure teams will kick far more than usual.

EDDIE JONES (Saracens)

You have to ask 'have they made the game better? Better does not necessarily mean more entertaining. If you want entertainment you watch Twenty20 cricket. We don't want rugby to be Twenty20 cricket. These changes have been made with a view to entertainment, not to improving rugby. Watch Bath against Wasps in January - it was one of the best games I've ever seen. There were unbelievable skills levels on show. If a game is played well and refereed well then there is nothing wrong with it. If you play the game well then it becomes a spectacle. If you try to make it a spectacle first and foremost, then you get a simplistic version.

This story was sourced from International Rugby News