Regarding these famous ELV’s (Experimental Law Variations):
When they eventually make a decision as regards what is and isn’t allowed to happen at the rucks and put these ELV’s to bed (Or better to the bin with some of them) everyone can then relax a little. Halfway into the season and neither teams nor referees seem to be able to get a handle on the ruck situation. Today’s AIB Cup game was another example of both sides constantly not knowing what is allowed, the referee seemed to have a different interpretation to the players, but he was very consistent and both teams went under the cosh at the ruck.
With the ELV’s, Mauls seemed to have almost totally disappeared but Munster’s performance last Friday night may have opened up a new era for the maul. While they were pulled down in front, having the ball at the rear of the maul allowed for momentum to be kept without the whole maul coming down when the front player was knocked.I agree that a method of stopping a maul had to be created and it has. And the maul I’m glad to say hasn’t died a complete death but appears to have “lengthened” into a “Train” style instead to allow for it to continue after being pulled down at the front.
As well, Munster’s approach to contact on Friday night was an example of the classic correct method of coming into contact with the opposition while carrying ball. Consistent placement of the ball at your feet immediately on contact, coupled with support players coming on straight away seems to work excellently when done correctly. By which I mean correct “Long” body position with ball placed at your toes giving it protection from the full length of the body. Support and “Cleaning Over” at this time is absolutely vital though.
It gives us something to mull over before the final decisions are made regarding the ELV’s but please folks, give us all (Players and Referees alike) clear consistent direction with the approach to the ruck. Either you can stay on your feet and fight for ball or not, and Friday night’s refereeing decisions didn’t help anyone in this regard. Both sides were pinged despite players being on their feet and spare a thought for the poor Munster winger Dowling, who got yellow carded despite standing while playing the ball which as far as I know is completely legal (I watched the replays a few times just in case but I still can’t understand the decision).