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Varsity Cup tinkering continues – but at what cost?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content on 18 Nov 2011 at 10:26
Tagged with : , , ,

The organisers of the Varsity Cup “stable of competitions” – including the Varsity Cup, Varsity Shield and new under-20 Young Guns competition – have announced a change to the value of kicks, which will be trialled in next year’s competitions.

In the interests of promoting try-scoring, the value of penalties and drop goals will be reduced to just two points, while try conversions will count for three. In short, a converted try will now be worth eight points (up from seven), meaning that you’ll need four penalties or drop goals to make up for a single goal, as opposed to the current situation where three penalties are worth more than a goal.

The idea is to fundamentally change the mindsets of teams – and I fear that this change will accomplish just that, however, not in quite the way that the organisers intend.

Let’s face it, teams ARE keen to score tries at the moment and will always aim to do so. By reducing the value of a penalty, all that you’re doing, though, is giving the defending team licence to infringe with absolute impunity, since they know that there is hardly any meaningful consequence to conceding a penalty, even within kickable range. This is going to result in more negative play and, ironically, will probably lead to fewer tries ultimately being scored, rather than more.

If I had been looking at this, I would have reduced the value of a drop goal to two points, since those really are contrary to the spirit of try-scoring rugby, but would left the value of a penalty unchanged. Even with a three-point conversion, keeping the three-point penalty would have evened things up far more, meaning that three penalties still trump a converted try, but only by a single point. By both reducing the value of the penalty and increasing the value of the conversion, I feel that a serious over-correction has been made which is not going to have the desired effect.


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