I WAS stimulated by Martin Hannan’s excellent article about possible law changes to the game of rugby union ("World Rugby rule changes risk even further damage", Herald Sport, June 3). He is right to emphasise the need to make it safer for players and a better spectacle for the crowds.

There is one measure I believe would at a stroke go a long way to addressing both of these – which is to reduce the number of players on the pitch. That would best be done by removing two (or maybe all three) of the back row. Rugby league did this over a century ago and it has served them well.

The safety advantages would be that scrums would be lighter, generating less pressure on the front rows and resulting in fewer collapses. This would be particularly beneficial for junior and non-professional club players. Rucks, mauls and line-outs would be less populated with reduced risk of injuries and, since they would be more readily refereed, offer less scope for skullduggery.

Removing four (or six) players would create considerably more space on the field and provide better opportunities for open, creative play. Thinning out the forwards would reduce the “battering rams versus brick walls" syndrome in loose play. The game would flow again and be more attractive.

A financial bonus would be reduced payrolls for smaller squads for national, regional and other professional sides.

All the essential features of the game we love would be retained, with new space and scope for skill and speed to express themselves. It would create conditions for lightweight geniuses such as Jim Renwick, Ken Scotland, Keith Robertson, Andy Irvine, John Rutherford, Gregor Townsend et al to return and dazzle us once more with their free-running talents. Many tries would be scored and the crowds would love it.

Rugby union should do this, and not be too proud to follow this good example from rugby league.

David Henderson, Inverness.

YOUR Name The Celebrity feature (The Herald, June 3) brought to mind a recent online lockdown activity among friends and family who were asked to identify their best-ever Scottish football players in each position. This being the West of Scotland, naturally the lists were chock-full of Celtic and Rangers players.

The startling omission was your celebrity.

For the record, only one Scot has ever won the European Balon D'Or award. He still holds, jointly, with Kenny Dalglish, the record for goals scored for Scotland (30), a record, sadly, I am unlikely to see broken – or even threatened – in my lifetime. He was famously named by the late, great Pele as the only Briton who would have won a place in the World Cup-winning Brazilian team.

He is, of course, Denis Law.

And he never kicked a ba' for either the Bhoys or the Bears.

Just saying.

Steve Brennan, Coatbridge.