2 Dec 2009

Breakdown rule stays but IRB sets up review

6:52 pm on 2 December 2009

The International Rugby Board says rules governing the breakdown, which some critics say are ruining the sport, will remain in force.

But a laws review will start next year and the IRB's chairman Bernard Lapasset concedes there is concern about the attractiveness of the game at the elite level

As things stand now the tackler at the breakdown is allowed to compete for the ball, if he gets to his feet.

Critics says this has swung the balance too far in favour of the defending side, with referees more likely to penalise the attacking team for ensuing ruck infringements.

They say that's led to sides kicking away ball in case they're caught in possession and made Test matches less entertaining.

But supporters say New Zealand's 39-12 win in France and Australia's 33-12 victory in Wales show teams can still attack if they want to.