Watershed moment as RFU makes radical tackle change
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced that it approved a tackle height reduction across community rugby in England.
The law amendment means that RFU will ban tackles above the waist for all community games in clubs, schools, colleges and universities, as well as in the women’s game and Championship one and below.
The law change that will take place from July 1, aims to reduce head impact exposure and concussion risk in the tackle for both the ball carrier and tackler.
Speaking about the law change to be implemented in season 2023/24, RFU President Nigel Gillingham said: “ Evidence from our own research and from around the world clearly shows that lowering the tackle height will reduce head impact exposure and the risk of concussion.
“The RFU Council is able to influence how the game is played at the community level in this country and, therefore, has unanimously supported the decision to lower the tackle height to waist level.
“The tackle will remain the primary method of stopping the ball carrier using safe techniques that are taught from an early age.
“While this change will apply to matches in the community game in England, the RFU will continue its work to reduce head impacts in contact training in both the community and elite games and be supportive of any law changes that World Rugby proposes for matches at the elite level that will further reduce head impact exposure.”
The RFU’s decision, announced on Thursday, came as 55 former amateur players joined the class-action lawsuit against rugby’s governing bodies, including the World Rugby, the RFU and Welsh Rugby Union, saying they were not adequately protected from permanent brain injuries.
However, the move has received massive pushback with more than 7000 people signing a petition in order to halt the implementation of the law.
According to the petition started by Ed Bartlett, the change will see the ‘game a farcical spectacle to watch’.
The petition also stated that RFU is ruining the game.