Latham not impressed by new rule

Australia full-back Chris Latham has questioned one of the experimental laws being trialled in the inaugural Australian Rugby Championship. [more]

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Australia full-back Chris Latham has questioned one of the experimental laws being trialled in the inaugural Australian Rugby Championship.

The so-called ‘breakdown’ law enables any player in a ruck situation to make a play for the ball provided they are on their feet and enter the contest ‘through the gate’, or not from the side.

As a result, the opening-round action saw more players committing to the breakdown, resulting in a fierce struggle for possession in every ruck situation.

And Latham, who plays for the East Coast Aces, admits he is at a loss as to the thinking behind this particular law.

"I think the whole perception on the (rugby) public is that they can’t understand what happens at the breakdown and giving it a free-for-all for anyone who’s in the ruck, I don’t see how that’s going to improve anything," Latham told a press conference.

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"I’ve tried to put a little bit of thought into something to improve it and I think if you can at least limit it to one person getting their hands on the ball and then after that the advantage needs to go to the attacking team.

"If we’re trying to speed up play and we’re trying to make the game more attractive to the spectator, we’ve got to see the ball with the attacking team more often.

"From a player’s perspective, I think you need to get that ascendancy to the attacking team, and as it sits now it more looks like the defensive team gets the advantage."

Former Wallabies centre Morgan Turinui, now playing for the Sydney Fleet, agreed that the experimental law benefits defenders.

"The jury’s still out on the rules but it has promise," Turinui said.

"The tackle is still a problem; we got rewarded more for not having the ball than having it, which makes field position more important.

"Once you’re in the top end of the field, if you turn the ball over it’s just a free-kick, so if the (opposing) team kicks the ball out on the full you just get the line-out back anyway.

"So you can just occupy space up here as long as you’re smart so you can be quite negative if you want to be."

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