Jake White says World Rugby's new scrum rules aim to protect young players

Jake White says World Rugby's new scrum rules aim to protect young players

Bulls head coach Jake White insists that World Rugby are not unfairly targeting the Springboks by amending a law which prevents teams from opting for a scrum from a free-kick.

Critics have accused the governing body of depowering the set-piece and allowing teams to get away with having a weaker scrum.

The Boks have won the past two Rugby World Cups, with their scrum being a primary weapon, but this move from World Rugby could hamper one of their biggest strengths.

However, White has rejected that notion and has provided a theory as to why it has been introduced.

"I know there will be conspiracy theorists about why this has happened," the former Springboks boss told reporters.

"I want to explain that the laws of rugby are made for school children. They are not made for professional players."

For the love of scrums, World Rugby stop changing the laws!

White then went on to compare it to a previous law - this one at the ruck - which was changed on the basis of safety.

"People who read it are naive. For example, in the past you had a so-called squeezeball, where a player got on all fours and pushed the ball through his legs. It was a big thing before they cancelled it," he said.

"School children saw that and they copied it. They saw Lawrence Dallaglio and Malcolm Marx do it - men with strong necks.

"A little child attempts to do that and someone lands on him, then they can be paralysed. Then parents don't want their children to play the game.

"Take it in that context. If you limit the number of scrums, more children will play the game.

"No one says the scrum should be ˜depowered'. Over time, the school game has gone from you could scrum and now you can scrum only a metre-and-a-half. It has changed. There is no conspiracy about that."

With this amendment, teams with weaker scrums will no doubt look to take advantage and White says that it is vital the officials punish any potential gamesmanship.

"The lawmakers and the referees have to work out how many free kicks they give at scrum time," he added. "There will be a lot more playing around [trickery]. Coaches are like that - they will find a way [to milk it].

"Sometimes, to give a team a free-kick, is better to defend than to defend from a scrum. That is something referees will have to take into consideration.

"What I want to stress is that the laws are made to make more people play the game, to ensure it is safer and to make it clear that it is the game's shape. It has nothing to do with some teams want to scrum and other teams don't."

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