Monday, 28 January 2019

Is scrapping rugby tackle trial a backward step?

I was disappointed to learn that the RFU has abruptly decided to end the trial of a new tackle height law in the Championship Cup whereby players were not allowed to tackle above the armpit.

I understand that there was a an increase (rather than the hoped for decrease) in instances of concussion - from an average of 0.6 per game in the regular Championship to 1 per game in the Championship Cup.

The increase in concussion, however, appears to be only in respect of players tackling opponents who were bent at the waist carrying the ball (with concussions from upright tackles actually falling) so I do wonder whether the RFU's action is somewhat precipitous.

Any change to tackle laws is going to require a period in which players and coaches have to adapt, change behaviours and learn modified techniques - and any trial, I would have thought, needs to give players and coaches the time to do just that.

Yes it's difficult, yes it's challenging, but there was never going to an instant solution to the problem and to abandon a trial at the first sign of difficulty really doesn't help...

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