Former Blues coach Pat Lam has called on referees to penalise time-wasting scrumhalves who delay clearing the ball from breakdowns.
According to rugby’s laws, the ball should be cleared from the base of a ruck within five seconds of it becoming available for the scrumhalf.
Lam, who currently coaches the Bristol Bears in the English Premiership, has demanded that referees stop coaching scrumhalves who employ delaying tactics and instead clampdown on offenders.
The use of ‘caterpillar’ rucks before players put up box-kicks has become particularly prevalent in the game, with this tactic adding to the length of time it takes for a scrumhalf to move the ball.
Speaking to The Rugby Paper, Lamb said unless laws are correctly applied and the breakdown is strictly officiated, players will continue bending the rules.
‘Players will keep doing things if they’re allowed to,’ said Lam. ‘But once it’s clear and a referee stamps a mark on it, that makes the game a lot easier.
‘If it’s five seconds and a player hasn’t used it and gets penalised and it’s a turnover against his side, guess what’s going to happen? He’s going to use it quickly.’
Lam, who believes that officials and not the players are at fault, also voiced his frustration with the amount of time wasted at scrums as a result of resets.
‘It’s an area that must be looked at,’ added Lam. ‘You just have to look at teams that are ahead on the scoreboard, particularly towards the end of games, and see how many resets there are.
‘It’s an area that you can use tactically, but it takes a lot of time out of a game and it needs to get sorted. If it’s collapsed, then stop the clock until the ball’s in play again.’
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