England coach Eddie Jones has called on World Rugby to step up its innovation drives to ensure the game keeps evolving.
Rugby union has been brought to its knees by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but Jones believes in crisis lies opportunity for the game to improve.
Speaking on The Rugby Ruckus podcast, Jones was passionate about rugby union using innovation to administer global growth, while also stating the game itself needs to change to facilitate that growth.
‘Let’s look at the strengths of the game, it is a global game. Apart from football, we’re probably the most global sport, so we’ve got a really good chance to drive that,’ Jones said.
‘Seeing what’s happened with Japan at the World Cup, they’ve had some success and now they’re a country that everyone wants to play against. If we can do that to two or three more countries in the next period of time, it’s only going to help grow the game.’
However, Jones believes World Rugby needs to find ways to speed up the game which has become to slow because it edged too far towards power players.
‘It’s a massive power game now. Average ball in play time in a tier-1 Test is 35 minutes. Average ball out of play is 45 minutes. The average ball in play in a game is 42 seconds.
‘So, it’s almost like NFL, with some bouts of soccer, where you’ve got the kicks and the chaotic, smaller bouts. And I think World Rugby has a massive responsibility to make the game faster and make the game more fatiguing, because otherwise we’re just going to go down the line of a complete power game and it will suit a certain sort of athlete and I don’t think it will be to the benefit of the game.
‘With eight subs you can replace half your team in the second half, so again you’ve got power [as a focus]. All those things have built a game where it’s suiting the power players, so I think there’s a few things that can be done quickly to change that which will be for the benefit of the game.
‘We should cut down the subs to six, which would put a different aspect on the game. So imagine that you carried three front rows, one lock who could play back row, one halfback and then a backline player that can cover from 10 to 15. And that would certainly make it a more fatiguing game because you wouldn’t get that half a team being replaced.’
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