Melbourne Rebels Attack Coach Shaun Berne has spoken to the media about the new law variations being introduced into Super Rugby AU.
Seven new laws will be introduced to the upcoming Super Rugby AU competition, in a bid to speed up the flow of the game and electrify the Australian rugby public.
With a plethora of elite kicking options available - including current Wallabies stars Matt To’omua, Dane Haylett-Petty and Reece Hodge – Berne is confident his side will thrive under the new kicking laws that may open up the game.
“Those kick variations and those laws, people are going to have to hold the back field a little bit more.
“Does that open up more space in the front line to play ball in hand and if they don’t defend that back field, are we then able to kick and find those 50/22’s?
“Hodgey (Reece Hodge) is one, Dane Haylett-Petty, Matt To’omua and Andrew Deegan – there’s plenty of guys there that can exploit that space.”
Rugby Australia’s new laws will also target scums, with the amendments seeking to cut down scrum holdups and breakdowns around the goal line.
Berne concedes that while these variations may displease traditionalists, speeding up games should excite the casual rugby viewer, potentially bringing fans back to rugby.
“The goal line one is an interesting one because if a team got held up it would usually be a five-yard scrum and now we have sixteen bodies coming together for a scrum and then sometimes there’s a scrum reset.
“There are traditionalists who like the scrum in the game but your average fan wants to see all these bodies moving and they’re going to run back now for a drop out which can happen quickly and from any part of the field.
“So then one team will get the ball from that drop out and they’ll be trying to attack quickly from it, so it does open up a whole different game.
“Ideally it does become better for the fans because there’s more space, more movement of bodies, more ball movement – we’re trying to bring fans back to the game hopefully with these law variations."
The new law will get its first hit out in Round 1 when the Rebels travel to Canberra to face the Brumbies – a team Berne believes should be considered the favourites given their impressive start in 2020.
“I think they deserve to be favourites of this competition.
“They’re the in-form team and the benchmark of Australia at the moment.
“They did a good job of beating us in Round 2 of the first competition but maybe unfairly it restarts for them and they have to start from scratch.
“We know we’re up against it in Round 1, but we’re excited by some of those new law variations and I know they want to try bring back fans and get people excited about watching rugby games in Australia again.”
"The Brumbies want to do that; they were playing good footy beforehand, so we want to do that as well and get people excited about rugby and challenge the best team in Australia right now."