Lions tour: Dave Rennie working to help change murky World Rugby laws

  • 10/07/2017

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has revealed he's working with World Rugby to help make sure there isn't a repeat of the refereeing mistake seen in the final minutes of the third All Blacks Test against the Lions.

With two minutes to go in the match, referee Romain Poite awarded a penalty to the All Blacks, before changing the penalty to a scrum on the advice of his refereeing team.

Rennie agreed with Steve Hansen who suggested that World Rugby's lawmakers needed to go back to the drawing board in order to simplify the laws of the game.

"It's the confusing thing about our game isn't it, it could have gone either way," Rennie said.

"Obviously talk around penalising Kieran Read because he took him out without the ball type of thing, and then obviously offside.

"I've been part of a committee that's been working on [simplifying the laws]."

It's not the first time the law has reared its head at a critical time in a match.

With just minutes to go in the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter final between Australia and Scotland, a very similar scenario happened.

In that instance, referee Craig Joubert awarded a penalty to Australia who's first five Bernard Foley then slotted to win the match.

Just as it did on that occasion, Saturday's decision by Poite has seemingly split the world rugby community down the middle.

Rennie said as frustrating as it was, there were changes on their way, albeit at a slower rate than many would want.

"There's been a conference call, each country's had the chance to debate various things. But they're honestly simple changes that bring into law what most people thought was law anyway.

"I know [Head of New Zealand Rugby's High Performance Refereeing team] Rod Hill has been with a group that's trying to cut the law book back, so there are things happening, it's complex."

Meanwhile, Hurricanes assistant John Plumtree wasn't as refrained about the controversial penalty.

But, like Rennie, Plumtree said they needed to have a general tidy-up of the laws, not just the one in question.

"In the law book, it says it was a penalty and it should have been a penalty I guess," Plumtree said.

"You could possibly see the Lions were going to be a bit hard done by but that's the game, if it's in the rule book, it should be ruled that way.

"It looked to me like the referee had awarded the penalty but then someone changed his mind."

"There's probably more than just one rule [that needs simplifying] but that's up to the powers that be to do that."