All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has given a stark warning ahead of this years World Cup after claiming rugby is becoming boring.
Hansen, who has just spent the week in Europe where he watched Wales beat France in Paris, and Ireland defeat England in Dublin during the Six Nations.
During an interview with Wales Online, Hansen gave a forthright warning about the state of the game and his concerns for rugby;
“I’ve actually got big concerns about the game at the moment, because there are not enough tries being scored, which is turning the fans away,” said Hansen, a former Wales coach who has set the standards with the All Blacks.
“I think there’s a responsibility on the coaches and the players as well. We are trying to get defensive lines up really quickly, but I think we’ve probably gone too far with it.
“There’s a responsibility to the game. If we don’t do that, then we are not going to have any running rugby.
“There were only three tries scored in the two games I went to over the weekend. No-one is prepared to take the risk, because they are going to get belted behind the advantage line if they move the ball.
“If we want to encourage people to watch the game, then scoring tries is what does that.
“We can get blinded by a loyalty to our team or we can say to ourselves, ‘Is this really the game we want?’
“If we don’t address it, then we are going to get very boring rugby matches.
“We are about to go into a showpiece for the sport at the World Cup. There are going to be millions and millions of people watching it and then all you re going to see is people kick goals.”
Hansen said more space need to be found around the breakdowns and rucks and a tougher stance needed to be taken on offside play.
Scrums had been given plenty of attention but breakdowns were the area that needed policing because there were so many in a match.
“Rugby at the moment is all geared to defences doing stuff that inhibits the attacking game, regardless of who it is.”
Hansen said the problems weren’t restricted to the northern game, they were worldwide.
“There are some things as a sport we have to address, otherwise our game will become a negative sport rather than a positive one,” Hansen said.