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Highlights on Off The Ball

Alan Quinlan: proposed rule to improve the breakdown

Alan Quinlan proposed a major rule change on OTB AM today to deal with discipline in the breakdow...

Alan Quinlan: proposed rule to...

Alan Quinlan: proposed rule to improve the breakdown

Alan Quinlan proposed a major rule change on OTB AM today to deal with discipline in the breakdown during matches.

“I think we need to try and introduce something where it’s (the defensive line) a yard behind the hindmost foot at the breakdown, which will stop this sprinting up.”

The issue arose following conversation of foul play from the likes of Maro Itoje in the Leinster Saracens game two weeks ago. Quinlan did say that the difference in spotting the issues could change with Nigel Owens refereeing instead of Garces.

“Well, Nigel Owens is reffing tomorrow and I think he’ll manage that well because his communication’s quite good.”

“Glasgow play on the edge. There’s no doubt about that and Leinster know that. They push the boundaries, they’re counter-rucking a lot.”

When asked if they were doing so illegally Quinlan responded that it was borderline. The issue is a growing matter, however, and it’s becoming more difficult for referees to track.

“All teams are starting to do that, it’s pressure here, there and everywhere and I think that’s something Leinster will have to cope with and deal with.”

“I think Nigel Owens will manage that well and he’ll probably have spoken to both sides but we’re seeing a trend in the game anyway of a lot of offsides, in your face style.”

With the extent of communication between the referee and coaches, it does remain a surprise that the issues are recurring. Quinlan’s solution to the issue was two-part.

“The referee needs more help from his assistants and there needs to be a clear gain line and a law change around the breakdown.”

The former Munster back-row explained the benefits of his proposed rule change saying it would solve multiple problems.

“Rugby’s evolving all the time and it’s getting more physical. If you’re a referee out there it’s impossible to look left, right, see everything that’s going on, there are so many things happening.”

Quinlan also understood some of the counter-arguments to his point but felt they too had solutions.

“Some people are counter-arguing that and saying that that will give the oppositions attack more of a chance to get up and run but I think it will give the attack more of a chance to be evasive and to pass and to move the ball a little bit more because we’re seeing a lot of collisions on the gain line.”

The Pro14 final kicks off at 6.30pm on Saturday at Parkhead in Glasgow.

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Breakdown Quinlan Rugby Rule-change