Rugby cannot keep the status quo
Scrum time has become a problem for rugby union.
Both front rows are cheating, the referee doesn't know what is happening, the crowd doesn't know what is happening, but the spectators certainly know that they are getting bored.
Rugby can't keep the status quo: it has to change.
I was interviewing my hero last Friday. He is Francis Rossi, one of the Status Quo frontmen, and he had just finished his sound check before their concert in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
He sounded upbeat about life, but downbeat at the empty spaces he sees in front of him at gigs this year.
For the first time in his career Rossi, who has just bought into a whisky company, thinks that the recession is having an effect on ticket sales to Quo concerts.
The time taken over collapsed scrums is killing rugby as a spectator sport. Photo: Getty
And, he says, it's the same for all the bands out on the road trying to make money. Most rock bands are struggling to fill stadia. Even Quo, the ultimate entertainment rock band.
By coincidence, there's a great article in the Scotsman newspaper by the former Scotland player Iain Morrison charting the decline in rugby's worldwide audiences - though I see empty seats at football too.
The Barbarians drew just 31,318 fans for their clash with the Springboks at Twickenham while the same fixture had 58,186 in 2007. The crowd watching Wales play Australia a few weeks ago was 53,000, a large reduction from the 74,000 who watched the same fixture in 2009.
Iain goes on to talk about many other venues all over the world that have seen a decline, in visible and real terms, in rugby watching.
The first thing to say is that Francis Rossi has a point. There is a global recession. People have either lost their jobs or are fearful of losing them and one inescapable fact is that there is less money in the system for life's fripperies.
The second, quite obvious factor, is that the weather has been horrendous for the last month.
I don't know how the brave souls who watched Scotland beat Samoa at Pittodrie a couple of weeks ago coped with the cold. Many didn't come, as travel was impossible.
And it is unlikely that we will see club games this weekend where I live - the frozen waste that is Glasgow, now you ask.
Perhaps there is an awful lot more rugby to watch, but the third thing to say is that scrums are killing rugby as a spectator sport.
I watched Glasgow play Toulouse on Friday night and the scrums became a nightmare. A complete nightmare. Later on it was Northampton-Cardiff, and yet again there were collapsed scrums and kidology.
The referees do not know what they are doing. They seem to have been given brave pills; they swallow them, jump to a conclusion, and award a penalty.
It is completely unsatisfactory.
I have two solutions, and I think I hinted at them here a year ago.
Firstly, we should not be playing rugby at this time of year. But that's an argument for another time.
The second is that we have to crack down, as a sport, on scrum time.
Stick with me on this one. There should be no "crouch, touch, pause, engage".
The "engage" has become a "hit" which both packs, weight-trained for this very explosion, try to win. Or we see a fake with a "soft hit", or a collapse if one eight "lose the hit'.
Packs should go down front row on front row, with no pushing, second rows next, then back row - with pushing only allowed as the ball is put in.
If there is one collapsed scrum either up or down then there should be an official warning. And then on the second collapse both sets of front rows should be put in the sin bin.
If there is an infringement when both front rows are off then, sorry, but it's a free-kick. Lineouts, I am sure we can come to an arrangement.
The danger for front rows is they might just find that 12-man rugby would be more fun without them. Scrums are killing rugby.
Status quo is not an option. But I have bought my ticket.
You can hear John every Saturday morning, on Sports Weekly, BBC Radio Scotland 0900-1000.