Rubgy-World-Game needs new laws says IRB chairman

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PARIS, Oct 21 (Reuters) Rugby needs new laws to make the game more attractive after a World Cup dominated by defensive tactics, International Rugby Board (IRB) chairman Syd Millar said today.

''Defences are on top at the moment,'' Millar told a news conference in Paris a day after South Africa beat England 15-6 in a dour, tryless final at the Stade de France.

''We need to free the game up a bit, make it easier to play, easier to referee, easier to understand and we have to produce more options for the players,'' he added.

A set of new laws have been experimented at club level in various countries for the past two years and the IRB now wants to try them in the southern hemisphere's top club competition, the Super 14, Millar said.

The experimental laws are aimed at encouraging players to run the ball more. They concentrate notably on rucks and mauls, where the defences currently slow the game down by delaying the release of the ball as much as possible.

Under the new laws, players are permitted to use their hands in the ruck and a maul can be pulled down.

''Those laws are designed to make the game more exciting and to hand the game back to the players making decisions'', Irishman Millar said.

''The creation of space, keeping the ball in hands rather than in the air are things we want to encourage. On experiments we've had with the new laws, the ball is played 10 percent more of the time, more tries are being scored and the rugby gets more exciting.

''We have asked the southern nations to try these new laws in the Super 14 which is near enough international level. Hopefully they will agree to that.'' The IRB would then carefully study the statistics from the new laws before deciding whether to introduce them for internationals, he added.

There were some fluent, attacking moves during the pool games of the World Cup, notably from teams like Wales and Fiji, but from the knockout stages it all dried up with teams concentrating on defending and kicking.

''The pool stages to me were a festival,'' said Millar, who will be replaced by Frenchman Bernard Lapasset at the head of the IRB in January.

''Then from the knockout changes, teams were more worried about not losing and became more defensively minded, less enterprising.

''The new laws will indicate a willingness to change that.'' REUTERS SKB RAI2012

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