Eddie Jones: NRL showed rugby what a rule change can achieve

Check out this monstrous rugby stiff-arm from another dimension (0:21)

This rugby player applies a ferocious stiff-arm to the defender en route to a score. (0:21)

England coach Eddie Jones has added his voice to the growing chorus of calls to change rugby's lawbook, saying the game has descended into something that resembles the NFL.

While few would disagree with the fact that England's win over New Zealand in last year's Rugby World Cup was a gripping spectacle, entertaining games of rugby have become too few and far between across the last 10 years.

And a lot of that has to do with the amount of time wasted at the scrum, and a raft of breakdown laws that are policed with varying degrees of severity and are too many in number.

"We need higher quality rugby," Jones told Sky Sport's The Breakdown. "The game has gradually moved along a track and hasn't been looked at carefully enough. Now we've got this game that's almost like NFL."

World Rugby last week unveiled a list of "optional" trial laws that individual Unions could use in their domestic tournaments, including the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition that kicks off on Jun. 13.

But New Zealand Rugby instead came up with two variables of their own - a red card replacement and golden point extra time -- and a further four "focal points" that referees would be closely monitoring at the breakdown.

Rugby Australia, meanwhile, has flagged the use of a "scrum clock" in its Super Rugby AU tournament and is also likely to at least adopt the scrum reset trials World Rugby released last week.

The varied approaches to overhauling rugby's lawbook make for a frustrating juxtaposition against Australia's National Rugby League, which only has itself to govern and whose Commission had made a simple rule adjustment for the competition's resumption last week.

A keen student of all sports, the effectiveness "Six Again" rule change was not lost on Jones, who immediately recognised the superior product that was on show - specifically that the much-maligned "wrestle" was less prevalent through the game.

"We've got a [rugby] Test match that we're involved in that generally goes for 100/110 minutes of which ball in play in 35 minutes, which hasn't really changed in the last 20 years," Jones said. "But the ball out of play has increased to 65 minutes because of things that have been important in the games: head-injury assessment; TMO; referees like to talk more.

"So we've got this great ball out of play time now, and we've got this small ball-in-play, which is just exacerbated by the fact that with eight reserves. We've got such a power game now. And I think it's gone too far down the power line and we need to get some more continuity back in the game; we need to make the game faster.

"The NRL was a good example of what happens about when you make one adjustment to a law and you change the game for the better. And it's definitely become less of a wrestle in the NRL and a faster, more continuous game, and we need to make that adjustment in rugby."

So how would Jones tweak the laws to help make the game more entertaining?

"There'd be two [law changes]; I'd only have six reserves and I reckon that would make a helluva difference because then you'd have your three front-rowers, you'd have to have one back-rower that would have to cover the back five, one half-back and then one back to cover the rest. And I reckon that would introduce some fatigue in the game.

"And I'd also, from a scrum reset, I need to think this one through a bit, but I reckon we've got to go to a differential penalty where you can't kick for goal; you've got to take a quick tap or kick for the line. We've got to try and get some more movement in the game."

Asked separately about the potential of the Six Nations shifting its tournament to later in the year, Jones said the entire rugby calendar required an overhaul.

"The opportunity now is for World Rugby to come up with a global schedule and that's the exciting part because the game does need a restructure; it's just gone since 1996 and it's all over the shop.

"And the opportunity now is if we can a get really good global schedule where the international windows match up, [that] would be fantastic; if that can happen we're going to be in a good position."