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Woodward Calls For Unified Approach To Law Interpretation

Woodward Calls For Unified Approach To Law Interpretation

Woodward Calls For Unified Approach To Law Interpretation

World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive
for a unified approach to interpreting the laws of rugby
union but
added there was no need to change the rules themselves.

The England coach is among a number of leading coaches, officials
players attending a three-day International Rugby Board (IRB)
conference in Auckland
on the state of rugby.

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Woodward coached England to a thrilling extra-time victory over
in the final of the World Cup in November.
The tournament hosted by Australia brought together the world’s
top teams
and referees, raising several issues including the differing
of some laws such as the use of decoy runners and the tackled ball

Questions were also asked over the liberal use of substitutes.
But Woodward, who was knighted in Britain’s New Year honours
following the
World Cup victory, said the laws themselves needed no changes.

“I think the laws are fine,” he told journalists before
the start of the
final day of the conference.
“From what I see so far, I don’t think the laws need changing
at all. It’s
just the way it’s coached and refereed.”

Woodward was due to give a presentation to the conference Thursday
on decoy
runners. During last year’s World Cup, he complained about the
tactic, which
can amount to obstruction in extreme cases, saying he wanted its

On Thursday he said there was a need for everyone to work from
“the same
“The law on decoy runners is fine, it’s the interpretation of
it,” he said.

The same applied to the law on the tackled ball, with many players
coaches not fully understanding what was permitted.
He added he could understand why some people would want to change
substitution rule, which often sees teams clear their seven-strong
bench of
substitutes late in the game as starting players tire.

But the danger was in overreacting and, “You can sometimes
tinker too
much,” he said.

Officials attending the conference also include new All Blacks
coach Graham
Henry, Australian coach Eddie Jones, France’s Bernard Laporte and
Eddie O’Sullivan.

Geoff Evans, the IRB head of development, described the conference
as a
discussion forum with no decisions being taken. Recommendations will
be taken forward to the board’s annual meeting in April.