Jones slams ELVs

Eddie Jones has likened the ELVs to T20 cricket, stating the new rules are a ploy by Australian rugby to cheapen the game.

Jones had earlier remarked that the laws had been “picked out of a cornflakes packet,” and yesterday speaking at the launch of the English Premiership, he further slammed the ELVs.

“The important thing is to improve rugby. To judge the ELVs you have to ask ‘have they made the game better?’. Better does not necessarily mean more entertaining. If you want entertainment, you watch Twenty20 cricket. We don’t want rugby to be Twenty20 cricket.

“That has to be the judgment line. These changes have been made with a view to entertainment, not to improving rugby,” said the director of rugby at Saracens.

Jones noted that Australia, who were the fore-runners for proposing the laws, had different intentions than other countries.

“The pressure on rugby in Australia is to win fans. They’re competing directly against Aussie rules, rugby league and football. All three are simple motion games where the ball is always in play. To compete the Super 14 has become a quick-tap motion game. The ball is in play a lot but that doesn’t create a better game, it creates entertainment – to the detriment of rugby,” he said.

He intimated that different versions of rugby could be the way to go in future to suit different audiences.

“Now there’s Test match cricket and Twenty20 cricket but we need to keep Test match rugby. Around the world most people want to watch Test rugby. There are pockets around the world who want to see Twenty20 cricket so let’s make Twenty12 rugby.

“We could have 12 players, 20 minutes each way with no scrums or line-outs. As the game becomes more professional another form of the game could develop. Sevens hasn’t been a success as entertainment. It might do well in Hong Kong and Wellington, but not around the world. You might find another form of the game springs up eventually,” he said.

Jones cited the standard of the World Cup last year – which was played under the old rules – and how popular this made the game.

“Just have a look at what the World Cup has done in Europe. Rugby in France is so big now – they had four club games with 80,000 crowds last season. Rugby in France is going through the roof because the World Cup was so successful,” he said.

“Watch Bath against Wasps in January – it was one of the best games I’ve ever seen. There were unbelievable skills levels on show. It had everything. If a game is played well and refereed well then there is nothing wrong with it. If you play the game well then it becomes a spectacle.

“If you try to make it a spectacle first and foremost, then you get a simplistic version.”