Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Fury despite Change in Scrum Law Mid-Season

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Fury despite Change in Scrum Law Mid-Season

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith Sports writer

WARREN Fury says the midseason decision to tinker with rugby's scrum laws will not disadvantage him and his Newcastle Falcons team-mates.

The International Rugby Board last week announced they were getting rid of the 'yes nine' instruction from referees to scrum-halves, ordering the No 9 to put the ball into the scrum.

Instead, they will give a hand signal to the attacking team, meaning opposition front rows will not be able to get a head start from the verbal instruction.

Fury, the Falcons and former Wales scrum-half, said: "They have changed the law because the way it was, it benefited the opposition.

"Having the referee calling 'yes nine' allowed them to get an early engagement, and it was a trigger for them.

"As well as that, the opposition were scrummaging on six legs whereas we are scrummaging on five, because the hooker's leg is cocked ready for the put-in."

Unflustered by a change which arrived at the start of the calendar year but right in the middle of the Falcons' season, Fury said: "It is part of the game, and you have got to react in such a way as benefits your own team.

"I personally think this change is the right decision, and speaking to the boys in the front row they feel the same way about it.

"It makes it a bit more of a contest, and at the end of the day I think that is what everybody wants."

Joking about the new mechanism for referees to instruct the attacking side to feed the ball in, the former Leeds and London Wasps man said: "In terms of what signal the scrumhalves get, it could be a bit of a nod and a wink!" Prepared for the initial hard-line stance to fade as the novelty wears off, Fury added: "Like a lot of these things they tend to take quite a hard line when it first comes in, and then ease off a little bit once people are into it.

"Changing the 'yes nine' call might mean the straight feed comes a bit more back into focus for a little while, and that the referees are on the watch for it again.

"From a scrum-half's point of view hopefully they might forget about the straight feed for a couple of weeks, but I suppose I would say that. …

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