Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

McGeechan pre-empts laws impact

Ian McGeechan

Sir Ian McGeechan predicts the new law interpretations will change the shape of players by placing less emphasis on collisions.

The new directives to referees from the International Rugby Board, especially concerning the breakdown, have speeded up the game. Rugby's 'gym-monkey' culture has attracted plenty of criticism in the past but McGeechan, the decorated former Lions coach, believes the new approach will result in a reduced emphasis on brawn.

"The ball in play time will impact the way we view the skills we expect players to have," said Bath's performance director at the launch of www.rugbycoachingdrills.com.

"The power of the game will still be there, there will still be big hits and big impacts, but there will be a more fluid game around it.

"It will no longer be about impact for impact's sake. It will be about a dynamic impact to produce a dynamic game.

"I think we'll a more aerobic game. The more skilful a team is, the more pressure you can put on opponents

"If you are playing quickly then you can't have front-five players near the contact area the whole time, so your front five have to be able to do other things as well.

"In terms of selection you might be looking at a slightly different type of front-five player.

"You want competence at the set-piece but the real bonuses are in other parts of the game.

"The figures show there are a third more rucks and phases under the current interpretations, so players have to have confidence to be involved in that type of game."

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