Breakdown interpretation expected to speed up game

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“It’s just about learning to roll away east to west, rather than north to south,” Evans responded when asked about how he is dealing with the stricter application of the breakdown laws for the competition kicking off on Saturday June 13.


Announced earlier this week among other innovations like golden point time and the ability to replace a red-carded player after 20 minutes, the existing breakdown laws will be applied stricter to create faster attacking ball and a fairer contest said New Zealand Rugby National Referee Manager Bryce Lawrence.


“Fans enjoy Investec Super Rugby because it’s a fantastic spectacle and our referees like to allow the game to flow. We’re confident we'll see a contest that is faster, fairer, safer and easier to understand. We're not changing the laws of the game, we're being stricter about how we referee them,” Lawrence said.


As one of the leading turnover exponents in Investec Super Rugby, Evans said the new interpretation would take a little bit of time to get used to but would ultimately create a fairer and faster game.


“A lot of turnovers these days aren’t actually from the person making the tackle it is from the next arriving player,” Evans said. “The tackler now pretty much just has to roll out and go side to side and can’t slow the ball down. If you are the jackler you only have one crack at the ball now.”


The one-Test All Black said the team had been training with the new interpretation for the last couple of weeks and were adjusting quickly.


“It sort of slowed the game down a bit previously so it’s going to be different but I guess you’re going to have to be more precise on when you pick and choose. The referee is not focusing on who is holding onto the ball now, they are focusing on who is rolling away or who is not rolling away so they can award the penalty or not,” Evans said.



The key focal points for referees at the breakdown are summarised below:


·        Ball carriers will be allowed only one dynamic movement after being tackled.


·        Crawling, or any secondary movement other than placing or passing will be penalised.


·        Tacklers will be expected to roll away immediately in the direction of the side-line. 


·        There will be "extra focus” on the offside line with defenders expected to be “clearly” onside to provide attacking teams more space


The Hurricanes kick off their Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa season against the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday 14 June.