Sports Letters: League has a point

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The Independent Online
Sir: After the farce at Murrayfield on Saturday, when England robbed Scotland with kicks, when can we expect the penalty goal to be reduced to two points?

It is plainly ridiculous that it should continue to be worth three. At this value, it is stifling creativity. Coaches, well aware of the mass of finicky laws hampering the game, can select a kicker as the first man on the team sheet knowing there is every chance their team will get enough penalty chances to win.

Indeed, kickers have become the most important players in the side. What would William Webb Ellis have made of that?

Rugby league gets along perfectly well with penalties worth two points. Interestingly, most rugby league games are not decided on penalties, anyway. Just take a look at any weekend's league results.

As well as penalties being worth two, why not also cut the drop goal's value to one (rugby league has the right idea there, too) but increase the try's value to six? This must have the effect of encouraging efforts to score touchdowns, something that is needed most desperately.

I realise that the Luddites running the game in this country probably would recoil in horror at anything that smacked of rugby league. But something's got to be done. England's sorry record of not scoring tries, despite their undoubted talent, surely proves that.

Personally, I have got to the stage of preferring to watch rugby league rather than union. Its emphasis on try-scoring is refreshing. And the idea of a sin-bin for union players has its attractions, too. Why not?

Yours sincerely

NOEL SINCLAIR

Bexhill, East Sussex

7 February

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