Diamond calls for time limit on scrums

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond has encouraged rugby administrators to introduce a time limit on scrums as they have become ‘boring’.

Diamond was speaking to the Telegraph in the week following his side’s dour 16-10 loss to Harlequins in the first match of the Premiership’s season restart.

Sale struggled to adapt to the referee’s interpretation of the breakdown laws, giving away a total of 16 penalties – 10 of those coming in the opening half hour of the match.

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However, Diamond was left more frustrated by how much time was sucked up by restarts and set pieces in the match. Opta statistics show that the game took a total time of one hour and 38 minutes, excluding the half-time break, with just under 25 minutes of that constituting for ball-in-play time.

‘What King Herod was to babysitting, scrums are to entertainment in rugby,’ Diamond told the Telegraph. ‘It is absolutely boring. I am not the first person to say it … and I am a former hooker.

‘I think [the change in breakdown emphasis] does give fair competition. Equally so, if you look at a lot of games over the weekend, the timings of the scrum set-ups are enormous. They take minutes. It’s crazy.

‘Where they need to spend their attention is sorting that area out – all the b****** around and the resets, not being in the right position. Free-kick it and give it to the other team. Let’s get on with it.

‘Get the lineouts quickly, get the scrums quickly, the bits that have no interest, really, to a lot of people. People want to see the ball in play, people want to see the ball in Chris Ashton’s hands, Denny Solomona’s hands or Manu Tuilagi’s hands. They want to see skill at high pace and they want to see collisions, end of story.’

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