QUADE Cooper's return from major knee surgery is a much-needed fillip for Australian rugby.
Of course, he'll give the Reds a bit more verve in attack, but with Test rugby only a few weeks away, it's enormous news for the Wallabies, especially with so many other stand-off options injured.
And, I also think Cooper's return is good for rugby.
The more he's involved, training and playing and socialising within the rugby code, possibly the more inclined he'll be to stay in the game.
With Cooper signing single-year contracts, a major issue for me was all this spare time he had with his knee reconstruction rehab.
This might reduce his desire for the game, or alternatively give him the time to investigate the possibilities of moving on.
I'm not concerned should he leave, I'd just like him to hang around a bit longer; I think it'll be better for his career all round, if he stays around in rugby for another few years.
Look, I don't know the bloke that well, but with the increase in the athletic capacity of our professional football players, together with the opportunities available, I reckon he'll switch over to league at some point soon.
Having him back playing and involved with rugby might just extend his time in the 15-man game just that little bit longer.
AFTER the debacle with the IRB's ELV law change process, any news regarding law changes out of the Northern Hemisphere is to be taken with suspicion.
That is a sad indictment on the state of politics in the game of rugby, but it is what it is.
In defence of that debacle, I don't think rugby (or rugby in the Northern Hemisphere, I should say) was ready for such progress; it's an evolution (small, minor increments) and not a revolution that suits those possessing reactionary tendencies.
But to the changes.The IRB is to trail a few evolutionary, yet still quite significant changes to the game throughout certain competitions in Europe over next season.
It appears the objective with these trial law changes is to increase the amount of time the ball is actually in play, and to increase the role for technology and the TMO (television match official) in on-field adjudicating.
Amendments to speed up the game mandate that a ball can only be at the back of a ruck for five seconds with the ref calling "use it", as an indicator to the attacking team to get the play going, as they do with the maul.
Quick lineouts can be taken anywhere between the line of touch and the players goal line.
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