The Varsity Cup will be trialing a new points-scoring system in 2012 in an attempt to force teams to play a more attacking style.
Conversions will be worth three points and penalties and drop-goals will be worth just two points in the 2012 competition. The organisers have received the backing of the IRB, and hope that the changes will result in more tries and ultimately a more free-flowing brand of rugby.
South African Referees Manager André Watson has also endorsed the move, although he admits there are no guarantees that it will have the desired effect.
‘We have a great relationship with the Varsity Cup when it comes to trialing and experimenting with good ideas,’ said Watson, ‘but, as usual, this trial involves plenty of hard work. We will be keeping dedicated statistics and monitor the results as the tournament goes along.
‘There is a possibility that we could pay a price somewhere along the line in a bid to create more tries, but we will be having a briefing with the various Varsity Cup Rugby coaches and referees in late January and we will have to upskill everyone and we aware of the potential pitfalls.
‘The key, however, is that you’ll never know something until you try it. One would think this experiment would definitely lead to more tries… but you’d also imagine that a few more penalties will be conceded on purpose… the exciting part is that we’ll soon see for ourselves how this works out.’
The 2012 Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield competitions start on 30 January.