Sports Letter: Code word

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The Independent Online
Sir: In reply to John Caird's letter "Boot Bores" (10 November). It is true, success in Rugby Union does rely heavily on cynicism to exploit the many technical rules, which are enforced with varying consistency by whistle-happy officials. That done, up comes the "kicking nerd" (great name). The metronomic consistency of kicking in the recent World Cup cured my insomnia. But in answer to his question: yes, there is an alternative, "a release to the stranglehold".

First, clean up rucks and mauls to open up the game and reduce technical offences. Then reduce the value of drop goals and penalties (it forces running rugby). Don't allow players to call a mark (it's a soft option), and force kicks to always bounce into touch (it's much harder to achieve).

I somehow think the Rugby Union crowd would baulk at this, because it would make the game easy to understand and entertaining. A bit like Rugby League infact. So there's the answer. Switch codes!

PAUL MARSHALL

Enfield, Middlesex

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