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“We’ve got to simplify the game”-Johann van Graan calls for less tinkering of the rulebook

Bath Rugby Head of Rugby Johann van Graan believes the game needs to be ‘simplified’, following recent rule changes.

The fundamental laws of rugby union are fairly straightforward; however in recent seasons there have been new things added or taken away in order to produce a faster, more attractive game.

The most recent example of this is World Rugby’s new rules aimed to broaden the sports appeal, which could see a new 20-minute red card introduced, as well as and the removal of the scrum option at free-kicks. These also come at a similar time to the shot clock and other new changes, but the Bath boss believes there has been too much ‘chopping and changing’.

“I do believe we’ve got to simplify the game, we should not keep chopping and changing it,” he told members of the media this afternoon.

“We should look after this game of ours because the media, owners supporters both new and old, players and coaches, we all love this game. This game is incredibly unique, it’s one of the last gladiator sports remaining; and that’s why people love it, there’s so much emotion involved.”

He added: “We are all stakeholders in this and it’s all our responsibility, because this is the game that I knew from when I was a young kid and it’s putting bread on my family’s table. I choose to be involved in this game because I love it. I’d like just to simplify it and look after it.”

Van Graan’s comments come just one day after his counterpart Rob Baxter criticised the new laws, and detailed the changes ‘drive him potty’.

Speaking after his side’s defeat to Sale Sharks, Baxter told the Times: “We need to stop changing the laws. The game was fine three or four years ago; 90 per cent of the law changes are to redo things that have been created by other law changes. It’s madness.”

With such high profile voices in the sport now calling for lawmakers to take a step back, could we see a reversal of the proposed changes?

The new plans, which also include the removal of the ‘Dupont’ offside rule, will be voted on by World Rugby in May.