The inaugural Autumn Nations Cup has brought back international rugby to the delight of many fans. However, some fans and critics have been unimpressed by the style in which the game is being played.
England claimed the title with a dramatic 19-16 sudden death victory over France at Twickenham on Sunday but their defensive approach to games has left many feeling that they could play more attractive rugby.
Bath Winger Ruaridh McConnochie was named in Eddie Jones’s 2019 World Cup squad but was unlucky to miss out on the squad for the new tournament. The Bath flyer commented on the criticism of Jones’ side, saying:
“This teams won all their games and only lost twice in 12 months against South Africa and France, and one of those was a World Cup final.
“Fans are voicing their opinions about the game going boring and that is not England’s problem. They are there to win international rugby games.” Said McConnochie.
Elite coaches such as Jones have called for World Rugby to look at the laws of the game with teams looking to gain at advantage which doesn’t produce the most exciting rugby for spectators.
“The issue is the laws. It is not the way people are playing because of how good everyone is nowadays and how good defences are and how athletic and fit everyone is it is so much harder to score points at that level,” explains McConnochie.
“It is a completely different game from Premiership rugby so to do that you have got to breakdown the opposition whichever way you can and for England’s way it is their defence and their kicking game and build and build pressure to wait till the other team cracks.
“You look back to the World Cup final and that is exactly how south Africa beat England. South Africa were better at winning that gain line and their kickers on the day and that is what won it. People seem to forget about that, but I think it is just where the game is now unless there are law changes.”
Laws that have been suggested to improve the quality of rugby on display is the amount of replacements allowed as well as the rules around box kicking from the ruck.
“If they want the game to speed up or to force errors quicker so people can pounce on it and start attacking, I think you would probably speed up the box kick.
“I am just a player at the moment I don’t fully know the answers to it. There will be an answer because it has changed over the years and rugby has adapted to keep it entertaining, so it is for the big wigs at the top to figure that out.”
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