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Crouch, touch, pause, disengage - scrum blight set for the chop


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The Breakdown: It's all up in the air

With rule changes and local derby standings boiling away, Wellington readies for a mammoth Brumbies v Hurricanes match-up.

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The IRB has for some time been known as the Irrational Rugby Board, due to its fair share of dopey decisions over the years. Thankfully the IRB picked up their act this week with some crucial rulings, including improving the financial state of southern hemisphere nations hit hard by the World Cup. Following years of lobbying, the Australian Rugby Union has succeeded in securing from the IRB a higher distribution from World Cup revenue, receiving a $16 million plus windfall over the next four years. For the rugby punter, there is also good news. Law trials and proposals include the abolition of ''pause'' in the infuriating ''crouch, touch, pause, engage'' rigmarole before every scrum, the video referee having wider powers, an extra front-rower allowed on the bench, the ball having to be used within five seconds of it being available at the back of a ruck, while a conversion must be completed within 90 seconds of the try being awarded. That's more like it.


There continues to be a Mexican standoff between the ARU and the Rugby Union Players Association over the collective bargaining agreement. But there is some hope the proposed salary cap of $4.1 million per Australian province may be increased following the ARU's financial victory with the IRB. RUPA boss Greg Harris said yesterday: ''We congratulate [ARU chief executive] John O'Neill for the work he has done at IRB level in improving the level of funding, because the organisation has been forced to endure some duress. Hopefully that will release some of the pressure, and due to that hopefully we can get our issues resolved.''

Rocky Elsom ... may know where the Tahs song is.

Rocky Elsom ... may know where the Tahs song is. Photo: Steve Christo


Perhaps it's a coincidence, but after the Waratahs lost their third straight game when beaten by the Bulls we visited their website to check the wording of the team song, which is belted out after every win. All week we haven't been able to connect to their ''Waratahs team song'' section, because according to the site it ''could have been removed, had its name changed or is temporarily unavailable''.


Aaron Cruden ... just how busy has he been? Very, very busy.

Aaron Cruden ... just how busy has he been? Very, very busy. Photo: Getty Images

Peace in our time. After the brain explosions and buck-passing which followed our item two weeks ago, where former Australian Rugby Union boss Bruce Hayman complained about the service at a NSWRU life members gathering at a Waratahs game, it is pleasing everyone is palling around again. Apparently the life members function at last weekend's match was an absolute cracker. Hayman reported: ''The atmosphere was very good, the staff were excellent and there was no waiting for service. The food service was good and the food hot.'' Now we can all get some sleep.


The rugby world is on tenterhooks.

A biography of that wacky former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers is due to appear in June. Proposed titles include I Love Myself a Lot, There is Little Difference Between Winning and Losing Except You Feel Better after Winning, I'm a God-Given Talent, I Know What I Am and Don't Give a Damn, We Went Wild, Wild, Wild - Some of the Guys Went Wilder Than That and I'm Going to Pull a Rat Out of the Hat. And the best commentary line of the week goes to New Zealand's Scotty Stevenson, who said: ''Aaron Cruden has been busier than a one-legged river dancer.''


Sydney clubs are worried they may not have their star players for the premiership finals. With the Super Rugby season going on forever, and interspersed with Test matches, there's not many chances for the rep players to appear for their clubs. And the Sydney Rugby Union has stipulated representative players must appear in at least two grade games to qualify for the finals.


■ Australia's most notorious serial offender official keeps getting himself into trouble. He is being discouraged from attending training sessions, while a recent expenses claim has been sent back because it involves strange casino debts and odd telephone calls.

■ What high-profile Australian rugby figure asked for $40,000 to attend a function in Britain before next year's Lions tour? Sunset Boulevard or what?

■ An Australian province is training very hard, prompting players to privately describe their sessions as ''Robben Island''. That's where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned off Cape Town. And no, it's not the Waratahs.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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