Completely ‘pointless’ World Rugby law trial EPICALLY fails as fans are left bemused over French tactics

Jared Wright
France players during the match against Wales in the World Rugby U20s Championship.

Fans were left perplexed on Tuesday after witnessing one of World Rugby's "fan-focused law trials sensationally back-fire.

Fans were left perplexed on Tuesday after witnessing one of World Rugby’s “fan-focused law trials sensationally back-fire during the U20 World Championship.

The incident occurred during Saturday’s intense clash between France and Wales at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, already marred by torrid conditions.

ReMARKable failure

Ahead of the tournament, World Rugby announced that six closed law trials would be in place for the competition, notably the ability for a mark to be claimed by a player in their 22 from a kick-off.

World Rugby’s brief explanation for the trial is “promoting attacking options.” This means that the onus is on the team kicking off to hang kick in between the opposition’s 10—and 22-metre lines in an attempt to regather the ball.

However this was not the case when Wales fly-half Harri Ford overcooked his restart as it landed in the French 22 with number eight Mathis Castro Ferreira claiming the mark.

What unfolded thereafter is what left fans perplexed as the back-rower called for teammates to come closer to him before he tapped the ball and instead of running, waited to be tackled by the Welsh defence – a rather unexpected move to remain inside his 22.

The intention was clearly to give scrum-half Thomas Sourverbie a better platform to clear from – and out on the full – as he kicked from behind the ruck, but it did not work effectively as he managed to find touch just outside his 22.

It was a clunky, odd, bland and excruciating eye-sore passage of play, a far cry from the predicted ‘promoting attacking options’ ploy the law was intended for.

And the fans’ reactions strongly suggest that it was an epic failure.

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“Why didn’t they just kick it from the onset? Wasted energy?” Former SA u18 Head Coach Katleho Lynch queried in reply to a post of the clip on X.

Another reply adding: “That is the worst passage of play in rugby I’ve ever seen! I don’t even know what to say!”

While another reply simply stated, “So that’s another law that needs changing then.”

However, there were far more ruthless reactions to what unfolded.

“Obvious sh*t law is sh*t. World rugby tinkering with sh*t pointlessly rather than just letting coaches and teams figure it out rather than forcing stuff,” one reply stated with another following the same script: “Well, that’s rubbish. Can we agree allowing a mark to be called from a kick off has been tried, it served no purpose, and we should just move on?”

And some fans didn’t hold back: “That was the most appalling use of it. How was that more beneficial to his team than kicking a long punt out.”

There is a rhetoric in rugby currently that the game needs to be sped up and cut out delays where possible but many agreed that this law does not achieve that.

“Absolutely pointless, just invites 2 stoppages when the game is desperately in need of speeding up,” one onlooker noted.

Another added: “Game is dying before our very own eyes. All the talk about “speeding” the game up and what do we get.. Smh!”

While there were sarcastic responses too: “Having done away with the scrum from a mark, here’s the next slice of genius from World Rugby to make the game exciting. Promises to be a thrilling rule change…”

If the law trials are ‘fan-focused,’ one has to assume that the reaction to this one has been a resounding failure and won’t continue, but you know what they say about assumptions…

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