With the return of the Six Nations, refereeing decisions and, more generally, the laws of our game are back under the spotlight.

First and foremost, I should say that these laws are there because they should contribute to a good game of rugby - as long as you have two teams with a positive approach and a referee who applies them firmly, but with empathy too when needed. They’re there to allow a continuation of play. If there’s a negative trend in the game, then a law will maybe be amended, referees will be told to be stronger on the current laws, or a new one will be brought in to try and deal with it.

At the moment, there are certainly areas of the game which I think need to be more strongly refereed. Get the new exclusive Inside Welsh rugby newsletter for full insight into what's really going on around all the big issues. This special offer will get you full access for the entire year for just £10 instead of £40.

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One of those is the five-second law, where players must use the ball within five seconds after the referee says ‘use it’. That was brought in because players were slowing the game down by extending the ruck in order to get a box kick in further away, to avoid being charged down. It’s a good law on paper and one that definitely benefits the game, but the problem is that it’s not being refereed properly at the moment.

Quite often I watch games where instead of being five seconds, it ends up being eight or nine seconds because referees are taking so long before they make that call. The referee should be calling this as soon as the ball is available to be used and not three or four seconds after. That is definitely an area that needs to be looked at in terms of how it’s refereed, and hopefully that will speed up games and mean we see fewer box kicks too.

The other area of the game that needs attention is how the offside law is refereed. It’s quite simple - if a player is in front of a team-mate who either has the ball or last played the ball, then that player is offside. But players shouldn’t be penalised unless it contributes to something, like tackling a player while offside or obstructing, picking up a ball or maybe closing down space.

What referees and World Rugby have been strict on is, when you have an up and under, nobody in front of the ball carrier must advance until that player is put onside. Say I was standing in front of Ioan Lloyd when he kicks the ball - I can’t move until either he passes me or an onside team-mate passes me.

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They have been strict on that because if players are in front of the kicker and advancing, then it’s unfairly preventing teams from counter attacking, as it allows defenders more time to close down space. If you’re within 10 metres of the player who catches the ball, of course, you must retreat. You can’t stand still, you’ve got to get back and move out of the 10-metre area until you are put onside by your own team.

But there is a loophole in the law, which has been used fairly frequently in recent months, including in Wales’ defeat to Scotland. If you are more than 10 metres away from where the ball lands, you don’t have to retreat - you can stand still, until you’re put onside. As long as they don’t move forward, they can just stay still.

They can be put onside by what the opposition do also, in this situation. So if we take the Wales game for example, every Welsh player in front of the kicker - let’s say Ioan Lloyd - will be played onside if the receiver, Finn Russell, either advances five metres or passes the ball, or tries to catch it and knocks it backwards.

So the problem is, we have all these players standing still, closing down space - legally, in this case - and forcing the opposition to kick it straight back again. As that viral clip from the Bath v Gloucester game earlier this year showed, it can create a farcical situation that is not at all entertaining to watch.

It’s completely legal, but leads to a lot of aimless kicks, which was one of the big problems for Wales in that tough first half against Scotland. And of course, it looks absolutely bizarre.

Can we close the loophole? Potentially. A solution may be to say, whether you’re within 10 metres of where the ball lands or not, you still have to move back towards your own goal line until you’re put onside. This of course will be more work for the referee and his team, as they would now have to make sure that players retreat and not just advance.

It wouldn’t be that hard to follow though, I think, and maybe that will allow the catching side more space to counter attack and lead to less kicking. I might be wrong, but I can’t really see any negative effect this could have anywhere else.

Whatever the solution is, it’s clear that we need something to try and cut down the amount of kicking back and forth. We want to take pride in our game and the strange situations this loophole leads to can make it all look like we are watching tennis sometimes and not rugby!