O’Shea warns against knee-jerk re­ac­tion

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Conor O’Shea has ac­cepted a change to rugby union’s rules is in­evitable fol­low­ing Italy’s con­tro­ver­sial ‘no-ruck’ ploy against Eng­land but warned law-mak­ers against a “knee-jerk” re­ac­tion.

The Italy coach said World Rugby, the sport’s global gov­ern­ing body, should de­lay any change un­til next sea­son even though Eng­land boss Ed­die Jones la­belled the Az­zurri’s ap­proach a “joke’’, with Red Rose fly-half George Ford call­ing for im­me­di­ate ac­tion to out­law a tac­tic he said threat­ened to “kill the game.”

World Rugby chair­man Bill Beau­mont was due to hold in­for­mal at the global gov­ern­ing body’s Dublin head­quar­ters with ref­er­ees’ chief Alain Rol­land con­cern­ing Sun­day’s match.

But no for­mal ac­tion, if any, is likely un­til af­ter next week’s Dublin meet­ing of World Rugby’s rugby com­mit­tee at the ear­li­est.

Eng­land won 36-15 on Sun­day to stay on course for back-to­back Six Na­tions Grand Slams as they ex­tended their win­ning run to 17 suc­ces­sive Test vic­to­ries.

But the re­sult was over­shad­owed by the de­bate about Italy’s tac­tics.

The peren­nial un­der­dogs re­mark­ably led Eng­land 10-5 at half-time af­ter re­peat­edly re­fus­ing to com­mit any­one other than the tack­ler to the break­down, mean­ing no ruck was formed.

As a re­sult off­side be­came irrelevant and Italy play­ers could stand di­rectly be­tween Eng­land’s Danny Care and half-back part­ner Ford.

Af­ter­wards a frus­trated Jones said: “If that’s rugby, I’m go­ing to retire. That’s not rugby.”

The Aus­tralian added: “I’m sure Bill Beau­mont watched that game to­day and will take some ac­tion.”

But O’Shea told Tues­day’s Lon­don Evening Stan­dard: “It shouldn’t be done dur­ing the sea­son and it shouldn’t be a knee­jerk re­ac­tion be­cause of one game.

“Will it be amended? I am sure it will at some stage, laws al­ways are.”

O’Shea, pre­vi­ously in charge of Lon­don club Har­lequins, said he was fed up with what he thought was the dou­ble-stan­dard ap­plied to Italy

“Wasps did some­thing sim­i­lar in a Euro­pean game against Toulouse with Nathan Hughes in­ter­cept­ing the ball and it was tac­ti­cal ge­nius but when we did it then it’s some­thing wrong.”

The for­mer Ire­land full-back added: “What riled me is that when Eng­land beat South Africa last year then it’s bril­liant and when we beat them last year ev­ery­one says they are rub­bish.

“Ital­ian rugby has to think out­side the norm or else it will never catch up,” in­sisted O’Shea whose side had suf­fered a 63-10 thrash­ing by Ire­land in Rome in their pre­vi­ous match.

Eng­land’s Ben Youngs (left) tus­sles with Italy’s Maxime Mata Mbanda (right) in their match at Twick­en­ham on Sun­day.

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