Should rugby replace draws with a golden point?

Are they draws an anticlimax or can they be as exhilarating as any other match? BT Sport colleagues Ugo Monye and Ben Kay take the podium in our popular Face-off series

Face-off: Should rugby replace draws with a golden point?

UGO MONEY
YES, says the former England and Lions wing who works for BT Sport

“I would like a golden point. London Irish were down by about 20 points against Wasps last season and came back to draw, so that was sensational and the feeling at the end was that’s the draw and it was brilliant. But at the end of the game you want a result because that is the business we are in. Draws can feel unsatisfactory and a golden point would be brilliant.

What I would caveat that with is you would have to bring in stipulations. If you have brought on a load of replacements in the last 20 minutes, do you then get a chance to use some substitutes to go into that extra-time period? I’d love to tear up the law book on that one.

Face-off: Should rugby replace draws with a golden point?

Dejected: Munster lost last year’s Champions Cup quarter-final to Toulouse on a kicking shoot-out (Inpho)

I did Rugby X at the O2 (in 2019) and we had a couple of draws there and they had one v ones to settle it. The ball went in on the halfway line on a half-size pitch and it was player v player. One side would send out their best attacker against the opposition’s best defender.

It’s a bit like penalty shootouts, five attempts then sudden death. There wouldn’t be any fans against watching something like that, high-octane exciting rugby to get a result of it.

Saying that, if we are at the business end of the season, teams might just be happy banking a couple of points from a draw and getting out of there.

It might not be great for television schedulers with their time constraints or for directors of rugby, but I’m open to it.”

Ugo Monye and Ben Kay

On duty: Ugo Monye and Ben Kay, the former England internationals, at work for BT Sport (Getty Images)

BEN KAY
NO, says the England World Cup-winning lock who works for BT Sport

“Keep the draws in the regular league season. But in series deciders, finals and other knockout games no. I was so deflated in 2017 when I was in New Zealand for the British & Irish Lions series against the All Blacks and it ended in a draw. The competitions have got to be decided at that stage. It’s not like saying, ‘That was a good draw in a five-day cricket Test match’. In a final there has to be a result and I wouldn’t want to play the games again.

In last season’s Premiership, some of the draws left teams feeling elated because they tended to be ones coming back to level the match. It was usually London Irish, who had five of them, so I don’t think it detracts from the spectacle too much. And you get the two points.

London Irish 42 Wasps 42

Elated: London Irish celebrate a penalty try that snatched a 42-42 draw v Wasps from 39-14 down (Getty)

It may be a different conversation if you didn’t have bonus points for scoring four tries or more in the Premiership. If you’ve got two teams with four try-bonus points and a draw both getting three league points, the games are pretty compelling. I like a draw but it’s probably worse for the home team.

Having said that, on BT Sport we have had directors of rugby talking after games and they say, ‘If you had given me a draw before the match I probably would have taken it’.

Last year was bonkers for draws. They used to be really, really rare and they tended not to be great games. What was interesting, especially from London Irish’s point of view, was that they were great games. They weren’t 9-9 draws. Keep them.”

Face-off: Should rugby replace draws with a golden point? We want to know what YOU think. Email your views to rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com

This debate first appeared in the November 2022 issue of Rugby World

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