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Lineouts given the thumbs up by IRB conference
December 2, 1999

SYDNEY - World rugby's elite coaches gave lineouts the thumbs-up Thursday but will continue the debate over scrummaging problems following the first day of an International Rugby Board conference on the playing of the game.

Set pieces were the major topic scrutinised by a brains trust of national coaches including Rod Macqueen (Australia), Nick Mallett (South Africa), Clive Woodward (England), Warren Gatland (Ireland), Ian McGeechan (Scotland) and Graham Henry (Wales). They looked at lineouts Thursday and began reviewing scrummaging. "The scrummage was the real area of interest and will continue to be so tomorrow," the IRB's game development manager Lee Smith said.

"Especially with the World Cup, with so many five-metre scrums and re-setting of the scrum in that part of the field. "Perhaps the most conclusive thing(to come out of today) is that they think the lineout is going really well.

"And that the only thing perhaps we should do in the lineout is take away some of the restrictions so that there is a greater range of options that a team could perform.

"There's one restriction that says when a player is peeling around the lineout, he must run parallel to the lineout, now that is unnecessarily pedantic."

Smith said another big issue to be looked at Friday would be the contentious tackle and ruck regulations.

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