While drinks breaks may be disruptive and spoil the momentum of the game, John Smit believes there is some merit to having them on a frequent basis.
Following this weekend’s third round of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, coaching staff from several teams weighed in on the World Rugby’s instructions to referees to stop time periodically for players to rehydrate, saying that these breaks were detrimental and broke the flow of play unnecessarily.
Vodacom Bulls director of rugby Jake White was among those who expressed his frustrations with the “illogical” water-break rule following the prolonged, stop-start URC clash with Connacht which went over the two-hour mark, as lengthy TMO reviews and water breaks halted the flow of the match.
Currently, the URC’s water-break rule allows for two short intervals per half but, after the final whistle, White pleaded for a rethink, as it affected the spectacle at Loftus Versfeld.
Speaking on a URC media call, the former Springbok captain said that, while he largely agreed with White’s sentiments, there was some merit to the adaptation of the rules if they were clearly defined.
“It would make sense to have water breaks every 20 minutes but they just added more stopping and starting to an already stop-start situation,” Smit remarked, adding that weather conditions, including high temperatures, should also be taken into consideration.
“Water breaks should be a health and safety measure,” he said.
“There should be clearly defined criteria for when they should take place. That way fans can have a better understanding of the rules and there won’t be as many unnecessary interruptions.”
Meanwhile, John Barclay agreed as he emphasised that referees were following direct instructions from World Rugby.
“The decision was taken by World Rugby,” said the former Scottish international. “It does need some fine-tuning which should be done by the time for international matches to roll around.
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