So it looks like the International Rugby Board may allow rugby union to go back to being a little bit more like rugby union again by having things like proper mauls in our games once more.
An IRB conference in London on the controversial ELVs seems to indicate that most of the major measures tried out will, thankfully, be abandoned.
It also seems that the experiment introduced in the southern hemisphere (but not the northern hemisphere, some trial system, eh?) in which even the act of breathing seemed to result in a free kick is also set to go.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Australia is the country most upset with the proposed return to real rugby.
Amongst a raft of complaints (see the Guardian for a choice few: click here ) Western Force coach John Mitchell came out with:
"I think the half-arm (free kick) is a great concept and it's totally necessary for us in Australian rugby in the sporting market that we live in. It creates an element where it asks the defence to respond quickly or negatively, and I guess that's what the game's all about."
Notice how Mitchell does not say : “These laws are best for rugby players. These laws are best for rugby and its fans.”
What Mitchell says is for the Australian “market”. In other words, they are trying to compete with rugby league for viewers and players and what to appeal to them by changing union's fundamentals. As much as The East Terrace has always enjoyed, and hopes to enjoy, Australian rugby, you cannot fundamentally redesign the world game for the sake of one small market facing unique marketing conflicts and difficulties.
Rugby is rugby. Tinker with it too much to please non-fans and the real fans will simply walk away.
The East Terrace looks forward to welcoming back the maul. Now if only they would allow some proper rucking as well.