So far we have seen nearly 30 more tries scored in the Gallagher Premiership compared to last season. People are saying the product is fantastic and the games have been amazing, and they absolutely have been. I can only think of one relatively low-scoring game so far, and that was Newcastle against Bristol (14-5). Everything else has been a try-fest, end-to-end action.
That gets you thinking about the players. They haven’t suddenly improved over the summer, developing brand new skills and a new mindset. Does it actually come down to the fact that the stress being placed on the middle-tier teams to avoid going down, and the restrictive nature of that, previously turned them into sides who took to the field trying not to lose. And how strong is that thought process, that fear, in terms of stopping a player going out there to do what he is instinctively geared to do – find space, run fast, make offloads and create tries. Has that all been stifled for so many years by the threat of relegation? Or does it speak more about the controlling nature of the coaches?
Haven’t they also changed the rules? About kicking for touch or summat? Stifling the ball at the ruck?