2 MARCH 1929, Page 16

GOALS AND TRIES [To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] was

very glad to 'read in your issue of February 16 the letter of " 0. F." on the above subject. Three innovations have altered for the worse the character of this noble game.

These are, first and foremost, heeling the ball out behind the scrimmage, which, as " O. F;" -duly notes, puts- all the forwards offside, and is therefore contrary, not only to the spirit-Of Rugby football, but also to its laws; The very object of this manoeuvre is for the forwards, remaining offside, to obstruct their opponents in their legitimate efforts to be on the ball. After the introduction of passing, a fine develop- inent of the game, it became usual to heel out at the side of the scrimmage, in which there was nothing objectionable or subversive of Rugby.

The second deplorable innovation, not mentioned by " O. F.," was the deliberate and now habitual kicking into touch. The New Zealand Blacks, who on their first appear- ance made such an example. of us, would have none of this, and showed us the better way of keeping the ball in the field of play, thus making the game quicker and more full of incident. I can remember the time, unfortunately too brief, when kicking into touch was very properly penalized. The third abuse, punting in lieu of dropping, is rightly branded by " O. F."

Again, I quite agree with " O. F." as to scoring. A try is absurdly overvalued. The object of the game is to get the ball over the cross-bar, and moreover a try got near the touch. line has no claim to the same number of points as one between the posts. One point should be quite enough for a try, more especially as it has an additional chance of scoring if the placz kick is successful. It is iniquitous that a dropped goal should Count less than a placed one. If anything it-should count Aline. it is a far finer and more skilful performance, being at the same time more hazardous, as if the kick fails, the side is -thrown back to the twenty-five line. As for the penalty goal, it should count much less, certainly not more than two. A win by means of a penalty goal is a most unfair criterion of the merits of the two sides, more particularly as the penalty for the same breach of rule.becomes of so much more, or less, value according to the position in the field where it occurs.

The Rugby game has ,now been reduced to skill in heeling out, , quickness of passing, fleetness of foot, and kicking into touch. The forwards are given a very ignoble part. When football was at its true zenith,_ a forward: could. get a try as

easily as-a. three-quarter. Now, even -if he does get the ball, And can cross the line •himself, he is expected to play second fiddle and pass the ball. He could also many a- time drop a neat. goal. Even when surrounded by opposing players it is comparatively easy to drop a goal, if near the posts. But successful place and drop kicking require an immense amount of previous practice.—I am, Sir, &c., C. R. HAINES. Petersfield,