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

RUCK & MAUL

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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.

IF THE CAP FITS …

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

GONE QUIET

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''.

FULL SERVICE

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.

BOK BIO BOOK

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.''

NO STARS OUT

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.

RUMOURS OF THE WEEK

■ 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.

Related Coverage

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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