Wayne Smith calls it "legalised obstruction"
The driving maul is “legalised obstruction” according to renowned coach Wayne Smith, who recently guided New Zealand’s Black Ferns to women’s Rugby World Cup glory and has assisted the All Blacks to back-to-back world titles. And the veteran coach would like to see it banned.
Talking to New Zealand publication Stuff, Smith said: “I don’t like the driving maul as part of the game. There are six or seven forwards in front of the ball. There is no access to the ball. It is legalised obstruction. I would get rid of it entirely.
“You could do it very easily by changing the laws so that if the attacking team chooses to kick a penalty to touch inside the 22, then the other team gets the throw in.”
There is no getting away from the prominence of the shove in the modern game – but you would expect opposition to any ban on mauls.
Against Italy in the Six Nations, England’s maul was particularly effective. Post-match, head coach Steve Borthwick said: “So there were different tactical elements. Today was the maul, it doesn’t mean it will be next week or the week after but we’ve got to build some strengths within this team and that’s what we’re trying to do. This is still the first layer of the rebuild. I think the fans enjoyed the maul today, they certainly enjoy a maul at Twickenham so I was pleased to see a few.
“It’s a small step forward and that’s what we’ve got to keep doing. We were playing against a difficult opponent and the players handled it very well. There was a lot of disappointment last weekend but the players worked hard to remedy that. As we rebuild this team we’ve got to find what works for this team. Today we found the maul was successful today. That doesn’t mean we’ll always use it. That’s why I talk about selection each game.”
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