AUCKLAND – The International Rugby Board (IRB) has passed a controversial law that would allow the ageing former Springbok captain, Victor Matfield, to continue his never ending career.
The new law would allow players, in particular the 38 year old Matfield, to play with the aid of a kierie to support the wilting knees and cowering back.
In a special meeting held in Auckland, New Zealand, the IRB decided that the fragility of old age should no longer be the deciding factor when it comes to players hanging up their boots. It was determined that a kierie may be used by players to sustain their elderly bodies.
The IRB laid out strict rules to regulate the use of a kierie during on-field play.
The kierie may be used for support, to allow Matfield to walk upright during the loose phases, but may not be used to give the player an advantage over the opposition.
During lineouts the kierie may not be used. Assistance for the jump must come from teammates, as always. Once the line-out is completed, Matfield may pick up his kierie and hobble to rejoin the maul.
Using the kierie for defensive purposes, such as tripping an attacking player by sticking it in front of his legs is strictly forbidden, and considered a red card offence. Shielding the ball from advancing defenders (known as cynical kierieing) will also not be tolerated.
Although the kierie may not be used to ruck the ball backwards, it can provide a foundation while pushing in the scrum.
At no point will a player be allowed to play the ball with his kierie while he is on the ground, although lifting yourself off your knees with the use of a kierie to play the ball will be permitted.
The kierie may only be manufactured from a soft wood. While it may increase the chance of cracking the kierie, it will decrease the chance of cracking a skull.
Matfield is absolutely thrilled about the new rugby rules. “Now I can play until I’m 50,” he grinned. “The Bulls will have no excuse to stop picking me.”
The end is nowhere in sight for the line-out specialist, who retired from rugby in 2011, but made a comeback in 2014. “Those days were hell,” he recalled. “I never want to do that to myself again. I really missed getting trampled in the rucks, pummelled in the driving mall and driven to the ground with a tackle. It was painful for me not to have so much pain in my life anymore.”
“As long as I can still hear the whistle, I’ll keep playing rugby,” he continued. “If only they would legalise on-field hearing aids, so I could hear the lineout call.”
Players from New Zealand and Australia are less thrilled about the new rules. “What the bloody heck is a keerey?” a few of them groaned.
Queensland Reds lock forward, James Horwell, complained about the extension of Matfield’s career. “I was hoping that one of these days we might be able to win a lineout ball again,” he moaned. “I might have to infuse myself with kangaroo DNA to extend my jump.”
Matfield is expected to test his new kierie during a SupeRugby match for the Bulls later this season. BN
Like all good sportsmen, Raoul was born in the Free State before being offered more money to move to Gauteng. He has such a keen knowledge of the games that he doesn’t need to watch it to know what’s going on. When he’s not following athletes around, Raoul can be found on his farm near Bronkhorstspruit, drinking whiskey and shooting his gun.