Sun, 09 Aug 2020

An innovation to inject extra life into Australian Super Rugby got the thumbs up from players and coaches despite a maiden "Super Time" failing to separate the Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels.

The new rule sends a match into an extra five minutes each way if it is tied after 80 minutes, with the first to score from either a drop goal, penalty kick, or try, winning.

It was among a slew of tweaked regulations introduced ahead of the domestic Super Rugby AU, which kicked off last week, and used for the first time on Friday night when the two teams were 18-18 at full-time.

Neither side could break the deadlock in extra time, but the concept was praised, with Rebels skipper Dane Haylett-Petty even suggesting they should play on until someone does score.

"It probably gives the fans what they want and no one really wants a draw at the end," he said.

"It probably would've been good to keep going until there was a winner but I think we're definitely disappointed.

"But I thought it (Super Time) was really good, you could see the players were out on their feet but everyone was pushing to try and get that result, build a bit of pressure and try and get that winning point," he added.

The Rebels threw the match away after holding a 10-point advantage with five minutes left, as a last-gasp try from the Reds' Alex Mafi and conversion by James O'Connor sent it to "Super Time".

A notable aspect of the extra period was both sides booting the ball down the field, keen to keep it in the other team's half in search of a mistake that could have handed them a potentially decisive penalty kick.

Reds coach Brad Thorn said they were testing the waters, having never played a golden-point scenario before.

"Obviously field position's important... and you could see the two teams trying to get into the right end and then if there's any error there, there's a shot available there," he said.

"There was to-and-fro but you talk about the game in Australia, it's a pretty exciting finish if you think about someone watching the rugby, you've got 90 minutes of rugby that went right down to the wire."

The innovation is also being played in New Zealand's Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, but has yet to be used, with no drawn games so far.

It is among a host of new rules being trialled on both sides of the Tasman Sea, including goal-line dropouts and variations on the 50/22 and 22/50 laws.

Referees are also cracking down on policing the breakdown, while limiting the number of scrum resets.

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