Peanut’s Piece: Castleford star Mata’utia launches new column with TotalRL

We’re delighted to welcome Peter Mata’utia to the team with his new column, Peanut’s Piece, in which he’ll write about the big issues from within the sport. On debut, he discusses the new rulings set to be introduced once Super League returns.

It looks like the ‘six again’ rule is coming and scrums are going for the rest of the year.

But I’m not convinced changing the rules so soon is a good idea.

I think the biggest key that needs to be stressed is that we need time to adapt to train for them. The NRL had a set date so it gave them support and time to train for those rules. We’ve no idea when we’re going to start or how long we’ll have to train, so it doesn’t give us time to get ready for it. It doesn’t look like we’ll get much time in training once we do get back, and a lot of that time will be needed to recondition our bodies for impact.

My problem with six again is injuries. It will become one on one tackles because it gets too frantic.
We might as well play with 13 wingers it will get that fast. It’s going to take those big guys out and if the contact goes you lose what we love about the game, you’ll end up having backs as middles.

It becomes a totally different game all about speed. What you’ll see is teams just go up the middle until they get that penalty, I don’t think you’ll see as much ball shift, the aim is to get that penalty and the best way is to get the middles tired. It will be good for the hookers, that’s for sure!

Once a team is on the backfoot they can’t get it back unless the ref is not calling for many penalties. Trying to do that twice a week, let along not training for it, will take its toll.

The other issue is that clubs have already started signing for next season and I think they would have recruited a lot differently if they’d known this was coming in, as it plays to the strengths of certain players.

I do think there’s a place for it. But for this year alone it won’t work. I reckon we could do it next year, it gives us a chance to train for it physically and tactically and for coaches, it gives them time to work on their strategies and their subs.

The other change that’s coming is the removal of scrums.

We’re told that it’s to protect our safety but that’s like saying we’re safe, but we’re not actually safe. We’ll be doing contact training and in a game, we’ll be tackling every couple of seconds for 80 minutes. Surely if we’re good to go, we’re good to go.

I know fans don’t like the scrum because they think it’s pointless but it gives outside backs an opportunity to create numbers and space to attack that we wouldn’t get usually, I think they’re a lot more important than people think.

But I don’t see how tackling for 80 minutes and not doing scrum makes a difference, that’s my biggest take on it.

That said, at the end of the day if it does change, we’re keen to play so we would get over it and move on. We’re rugby players, that’s what we do!