Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Irish slam IRB over new ideas

Ireland have turned up the heat in their war of words on the IRB as the laws fiasco continues to overshadow this week's Triple Crown tilt against Scotland.

The IRB's introduction of a new interpretation of the tackle law has outraged northern hemisphere countries who object to both its intent and the disastrous timing of its introduction.

Ireland's players only found out about the new instructions two days before their crucial clash with Wales last weekend.

“As we all know the rule hasn't changed, there is just a stricter interpretation of the rule,” said Ireland manager Paul McNaughton in Killiney yesterday.

“What we're mainly concerned about is the fact that this stricter interpretation is being enforced in the middle of a tournament.

“You can't just, the night before the game, or even a week before a game, change everything about the way you play.

“I mean, we like to play football on our feet, hold the player up and keep the ball off the ground.

“It's been an important part of our game, in terms of winning turnovers, and it's played an important role in our success.

“Now this could damage that aspect of it.

“We'll have to adapt. We don't make the rules and we're not trying to make the rules. We're just very disappointed, to say the least, that the interpretations were being changed in the middle of the tournament.”

And Ireland backs coach Alan Gaffney railed against the directive which, as well as utterly transforming the game, could seriously hamper Ireland's ability to compete against southern hemisphere teams.

“There is a real danger that it could become like rugby league,” said the Australian.

“Certain sides will benefit from this and doubtless that's a real reason why this is happening.

“The way it's heading at the moment, it's weighing very heavily on the attacking side and that's not right.

“Okay, you may see more tries being scored but does that necessarily make a great game of rugby?

“ I don't think that's going to entice people back to the sport,” he added.

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