Tue 24 Jan 2023 | 11:16

'Sitting duck': Ireland's take on RFU's new tackling law

'Sitting duck': Ireland's take on RFU's new tackling law
Tue 24 Jan 2023 | 11:16
'Sitting duck': Ireland's take on RFU's new tackling law
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NEWS: Ireland coach Andy Farrell and skipper Johnny Sexton have strongly disagreed with the RFU decision to limit the community game in England to waist-high tackles only from next season.

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Veteran player Sexton has regularly encountered head knocks throughout his lengthy career and although the new initiative in England doesn’t apply at professional level, he has taken a dim view of the impending change and would hate for it to be introduced into the grassroots game in Ireland by the IRFU.

Asked at the Six Nations launch in London on Monday what he thought of the English community game measure and if he would be in favour of its introduction in Ireland, Sexton didn’t hold back in explaining his dissatisfaction with the change.

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“Look, I don’t agree with it,” he stressed.

“There’s no point sitting on the fence really, is there? I just think you have got tall people who play the game and it should be their decision how they tackle.

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“Of course, we need to get the headshots out of the game but I think the tackles that we really need to take out of the game are reckless, out of control, sprinting out of the line, tucking arms, all these types of ones you know, hitting someone there I don’t think should be an option.

“And it is not like you can’t get concussed chopping someone’s knees. You know, I see a hell of a lot of concussions, people getting their head on the wrong side, a knee to the temple, or a hip even to the side of the head. So I strongly disagree.”

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Ireland boss Farrell, who was at a grassroots game at Coolmine in Dublin on Sunday to watch his youngest son Gabriel play, added: “It is super important that what has come with that is the correct coaching in the correct way, correct the technique because of the reasons that Johnny has just said.

“If you are just saying to a kid that you need to tackle lower, then you even become more vulnerable in my opinion you know, if you are just sitting there with just your arms in front trying to wrap and get the head down etc, you are a sitting duck waiting to happen.

“So the coaching and the technique of how it is applied to tackling below the waist is absolutely crucial otherwise we are going to have a serious problem.”

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