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All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith lauds Italy's ruck tactics

Wayne Smith -- one of the brains behind New Zealand's back-to-back World Cup triumphs -- has applauded Italy for rolling the dice with their ruckless masterplan in Sunday's 36-15 loss to England in the Six Nations at Twickenham.

Conor O'Shea's side left England befuddled by refusing to commit players to the breakdown -- therefore no offside line was created, allowing the Azzurri to crowd around a frazzled Danny Care at scrum-half.

The tactic clearly got under the skin of England coach Eddie Jones, who has called for World Rugby to revise the laws of the game.

But All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith can't see rugby's governing body changing a rule which has been rarely adopted.

"It's a brave team that tries it," Smith told Fairfax Media in New Zealand.

"I think Conor [O'Shea] has shown some thinking outside the box and they've been courageous enough to have a crack because there are lot of potential flaws, and not every referee will be in favour of it."

"It's one of those surprise tactics that I think could work now and again, but you certainly couldn't build your game around it.

"I don't think it requires a law change. The law says you require one from each team over the ball bound together to create a ruck. I can't see them changing that.

"It's not an anomaly in the law, it's just a part of the game, a shock tactic that a team might use now and again but certainly if you became predictable by doing it you'd be cut to bits."

Smith has been aware of the rule for some time -- and even tried it during his stint as an assistant coach for the Chiefs in Super Rugby.

But he says without the willingness of the referee to play to the letter of the law -- the ploy can backfire rapidly.

"I remember we did it once because the Cheetahs had guys attached to the ball-carrier all the time, and you couldn't really access the ball.

"I talked to [referee] Jonathan Kaplan before the game to ask whether he would call if it was a ruck or not, but he wouldn't play ball.

"I know the Chiefs a couple of years ago tried it a couple of times and didn't get good rulings and were penalised for offside. So it's got some flaws."

Asked whether Eddie Jones has over-reacted in the aftermath, Smith refused to get into a war of words with one of best talkers in the game.

Smith and Jones are long time adversaries, having coached against each other in the late 90s in Super Rugby, and in the 2001 Tri Nations when Smith was at the helm of the All Blacks who lost two matches to Jones' Wallabies.

"He's a character, isn't he? I've known him a long time and he's a good thinker of the game," Smith said.

"A lot of what he says is tongue in cheek, and he likes to get into those tit-for-tat situations. But he's not going to get into one with me. I'm not in his league."