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Smith likes rugby amendments

16:00 Wed May 16 2012
AAP

All Blacks centre and Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith says rugby's proposed law amendments to be tested later this year are straightforward and should help the game.

The International Rugby Board has approved trials for five proposed rule changes, including limiting the amount of time the ball can sit at the back of a ruck to five seconds.

Another proposed amendment allows kickers just 90 seconds from a try being scored to take the conversion, and there are also changes around quick throw-ins and lineout penalty options.

An extended trial of what the television match official (TMO) can rule on will also begin later this year, and an additional front rower will increase the number of substitutes to eight in the November international window.

Smith says rugby has always been proactive in terms of changing the rules, and although the IRB didn't always get it right, the intention was positive.

"If you look at the game now, it's a pretty good product and I think that's a result of the powers that be being prepared to change things around."

Smith says the extra front row substitute seemed to work well in last year's ITM Cup, and the five-second rule at the ruck would hinder the potential for teams to kill games.

"It's not really footy - it's not a nice way to end a game," he said.

"The good thing about rugby is you play it out, and you can't kill a game."

However, Smith was less certain about the extension of the TMO's powers.

"I'm not so sure about that one ... I'd hate to be reviewing every decision a ref makes.

"I think it's pretty good for the moment, where it's only for the forcing (of a try). We just have to be careful it's not slowing the game down too much."