Rugby Australia considers Super variations

Adrian Warren
Rugby Australia may trial a scrum clock among other innovations in the upcoming Super Rugby season

Rugby Australia wants to strike the right balance between introducing some variations in their proposed Super Rugby replacement tournament and preparing players for Test matches under current rules.

.A number of innovations have been flagged for the proposed 12-week competition which RA aims to start in early July .

They're continuing to look at five and six team models made up of the four current Australian Super Rugby franchises plus the Western Force and possibly Japan's Sunwolves.

A scrum clock to address the vexing long-term issue of the amount of time taken to set scrums is one of a number of initiatives being considered.

'We feel we want to zero in on some variations that could attract and be entertaining and exciting and also pave the way for the future," RA general manager of professional rugby services Ben Whitaker said.

"But we are also mindful that this is Super Rugby.

"It also needs to lend itself to selecting a Wallabies team to play later in the year, so there's a bit of a balance there.

'I will say that the stakeholders involved in looking at Innovation have been fantastic in putting time into it.

'It's really encouraging to see the options that they have provided, particularly off field, access to players and coaches, which is very exciting."

The scrum clock would potentially be one way of trying to increase the amount of time the ball is in play.

"A lot of fans, a lot of media, a lot of players have looked at ways of limiting down time in the game, picking up the speed, which ultimately leads to greater fatigue as well," Whitaker said.

"The scrum is such an interesting situation where you've got to be mindful of players' safety at the same time.

"The referees have a watch, we just want to make sure that the the idea of setting a scrum or engaging a scrum within 60 seconds of the mark being set, is something that is consistently applied.

"The players and the coaches at the moment are all in agreement that they want that and, other than situations where you feel that it is unsafe to apply that law, that's what we will be doing in this competition.

"Whether there is a clock up on the big screen or not, TBC."