Sunday, 27 May 2018

New "nipple-line" law for rugby?

The introduction of a new trial law at next week's Under-20 World Championship to lower the height of the tackle to “below the nipple line” is attracting plenty of attention.

Anything designed to improve plater safety has to be applauded, although how the law is implemented by officials will be key.

Apparently a high tackle warning will be issued if the tackler does not bend at the waist when tackling and there is clear head contact. Two high-tackle warnings for the same player will lead to a one-match ban.

No doubt referees will be uber-vigilant at first and players will struggle. The problem is that, over time (as happened the last time the high tackle was the subject of referees' focus) officials are likely to become a bit more laissez-faire about enforcement.

I'm therefore not sure that a "nipple line" law is required - instead all that is really actually needed is for the current high tackle laws to be properly refereed.

And what happens when the law filters down to grassroots? Believe me, I've seen some nipple lines pretty close to waist level! 😂

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