Rugby greats have found a vocal advocate in an unlikely place after pint-sized Wallabies defender Andrew Kellaway shot down the idea of a scrum time trial for Super Rugby Pacific.
Representatives from all 12 teams as well as member unions and broadcasters met to discuss the future of the rebuilt competition last week, with potential rule changes at the heart of their intention to put on a better show.
A 60-second scrum-forming clock was turned up to increase ball playing time, a sore point particularly in matches with Australian teams in the first edition of the extended season earlier this year.
Tips like a player’s draft and removing yellow cards for knockdowns found support.
But Wallabies veterans Allan Alaalatoa and Andrew Kellaway, who could play as full-backs against South Africa in Adelaide on Saturday, were far less accommodating of any plans to rush scrum time.
“We have to be careful, right? Kellyaway said.
“It’s a niche area of the game where you have kids performing specialized skill.
“We ask these guys to squeeze a spine to make a living.
“And someone in suit has the nerve to tell him to hurry.
“If I were Al, which thankfully I’m not, I’d be pretty dirty about it.
“I think there are so many other areas that we can tackle in the game. The break is another before we have to start choosing the scrum. “
Alaalatoa was more diplomatic but he recognized that only those who put their heads in dark places could understand what was being asked of them.
“We don’t want to organize a quick scrum and then get involved because we risk hurting our neck or back,” he said.
“We understand that we have to put something in place to make it more attractive to the public.
“We have to implement it in training first, or take at least a year to practice it, because I feel that if we don’t do it well someone will get hurt.
“If we don’t implement it in training, we will probably be at high risk at the time of the match.”
The 50-22, leaving the goal line, the gold try in extra time and the 20-minute red card have been quite successful since their introduction into Super Rugby.
Kellaway said changes to deliberate knockdown laws, revealed by Izaia Perese’s scathing yellow card in the Australian test against England in Brisbane earlier this year, would be welcome.
Like a preseason television project that would allow young talent stuck in a long queue at a club to thrive with playing time in a Super Rugby rival.