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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Some sanity breaks out in ELV debate

Thanks to Spike (from Swaffham) and Simon Shutler for pointing out the good news that sanity has prevailed in the RFU and that - in England at least - the ELVs concerning the maul will NOT be adopted in U19 rugby, a decision which includes girls' rugby.

Note that all other ELVs will - at the moment anyway - still apply from next season.

It is easy to be critical of large organisations like the RFU, who can seem out of touch with the grassroots, but on this occasion that have been listening very carefully and are actually going out on a limb a bit by refusing to do what many other unions are going along with. As they point out, it could have some repercusions when it comes to youth internationals as we in England will be playing to different laws to everyone else, but it is good to see one organisation willing to put the grassroots ahead of the elite.

The RFU press release on the subject appears in full below.
The RFU Management Board has carefully considered a recommendation of the RFU Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) Implementation Task Group regarding introduction of some of the ELVs into the youth game in England.

The Management Board has approved the recommendation of the ELV Task Group that ELV 2 (shoulders must not be lower than the hips at the maul) and ELV 3 (pulling down the maul) should not be trialled in England at Under 19 level and below until:

It has been demonstrated to be safe in the adult game;

The results of trials currently taking place in South Africa have been properly analysed by the iRB with specific reference to the safety of pulling down the maul at all rugby played at U19 and below;

Agreement has been reached on the safest method to pull down the maul and appropriate coaching techniques have been developed.

Sufficient time is allowed for the safest method and the appropriate coaching techniques to be communicated to all those involved in rugby at U19 level and below.

The RFU will now discuss the issues that may arise with age grade cross-border competitions where other Unions are trialling ELV 2 & 3 with the IRB and affected Unions. However, the interests of young players and the safety concerns expressed by the game will take precedence.

RFU Chief Executive Francis Baron OBE said: "We have received a large number of letters from the youth game expressing serious concerns over the introduction of some of the ELVs in the youth game.

"It is established practice that Unions can apply variations to the Laws at youth level and many Unions exercise their rights in this respect. The RFU intends to exercise its rights in respect of the ELVs of concern to us and the game in England following discussion with the IRB and other affected Unions."

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