That's not an ELV. This is an ELV.

In the spirit of reconciliation between the Rugby nations of the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, the Rolling Maul proposes that rather than simply reject the more interesting proposed rule changes to open up the game, they be put on the backburner while a series of Northern Hemisphere ELVs be trialled for comparison. These ELVs should ensure that Rugby is played the way that the Northern Hemisphere has always wanted the game to be played - in the forwards.

The proposed Northern Hemisphere ELVs are:

1) Any player found running faster than a slow jog to be penalised and placed in leg shackles for the duration of the game. Players need to realise that speed is a blight on Rugby and needs to be phased out. It distracts from the important action deep within a scrum, maul or ruck. Rugby is to be savoured like a fine wine, not sculled like a yard glass at a 21st.

2) Deliberate passing of the ball to wingers to be penalised by excommunication. Forward play is next to godliness. Wingers are the devil incarnate, their good looks designed to lead to temptation. True salvation, nay revelation, is to be found at the bottom of a pile of heaving sweaty men.

In any case, passing a ball to a winger is bound to lead to disaster. The more time the forwards have spent muscling the ball forward metre by metre, minute by minute towards the try line, the greater the chance the winger will spill the ball when it comes his way. Keep the ball in the forwards and the problem is solved.

3) The scoring system. As a measure of team dominance and strength, tries are overrated. As a measure of dominance and power, field goals are overrated. As a measure of discipline and concentration, penalty goals are overrated. The only true measure of worth is possession, and possession happens in the forwards. The Northern Hemisphere ELVs will recognise this by awarding points to each successful scrum, ruck and maul. Tries, field goals and penalty goals will be rewarded by the option to have more scrums, rucks or mauls.

4) Field conditions. Grass was invented to stop backs from getting dirty. Grass stains don't look good on clothing and can be itchy. It also favours fleet footed sprinters afraid to get their hair messed up. Doing away with grass entirely and ensuring all grounds are watered thoroughly to a boggy muddy state prior to matches will guarantee a level playing field for all forwards. Any back unwilling to particpate will be ground into said level playing field.

5) Happiness is a maul or ruck so intense that the ball becomes a minor consideration. The battle of wits and intelligence in the complex mass of humainty is such that the ball is the least of a player's concerns. The chess-like nature of these endeavours needs to be recognised by the elimination of the ball entirely. This will leave Rugby in a pure state and bring its particpants closer to enlightenment without the distrations of earthly possessions such as a ball.

6) With no ball there is no reason for artificial contructs such as tries or goals. Thus clearly there is no point for the arbitary limitations created by try lines or goal posts. Even a rectangular field implies direction where none is needed. Scrums, rucks and mauls have a momentum of their own that should be set free, unencumbered by the bleatings of halfbacks to point in any particular way. Let the scrums, rucks and mauls go free to pursue their own natural place on a round field.

7) Get rid of backs. Now at least there's one sensible rule that both hemispheres can agree on.

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