With the advent of new directives around high tackling there have been the inevitable claims that rugby is somehow “going soft”.
The latest comes from Sale Sharks DoR Steve Diamond who has questioned whether the game is “becoming touch rugby” after his team were given three yellow cards in defeat by Saracens at the weekend.
Let’s get one thing straight – there is nothing soft about rugby and the game managed for decades without the reckless head-high tackling that has proliferated in the past few seasons. World Rugby is absolutely correct in trying to eradicate the dangerous high tackle from the game. It may take some time and there may be instances of apparent injustice as the game evolves but the coaches and players simply have to adapt.
Rugby is not becoming softer. It is becoming safer. There’s a difference.