Tuesday May 29, 2018

First of two new high tackle laws to be trialled this week at U20 Championship

First of two new high tackle laws to be trialled this week at U20 Championship
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Ahead of this year’s World Rugby U20 Championship, which kicks off in France on Wednesday, the sport’s governing body has announced a series of dedicated tackle law trials to combat head injuries in the game. One of them deals with tackle height, the other, tackle positioning.

In what appears to have been widely misinterpreted news release, World Rugby will run two separate high tackle law trials, in two different tournaments, the first of which kicks off this week.

The key change in the law will centre around the height of acceptable tackles, with a view to turning trials into permanent law and extending them to the senior game as well.

The trials come amid continuing efforts to lower the cases of concussion and serious head injuries and were developed following research which concluded that:

  • 76 per cent of head injuries occur in the tackle
  • 72 per cent of head injuries in the tackle occur to the tackler
  • The risk of injury to both players from a high-contact tackle (when the tackler is upright) is 4.3 times greater than a low-contact tackle
  • Head on head contact (when the tackler is upright) is 6.5 times more likely to result in a head injury than the lower head-to-hip tackle

The research – conducted in conjunction with renowned physiologist and World Rugby Research Consultant Ross Tucker – is particularly relevant after Ireland international Jarrad Payne was forced to retire from the game on medical grounds following a series of headaches.

The Kiwi sustained a head injury while playing for the British and Irish Lions against New Zealand in 2017 and has not played since. Payne is just one of a number of players who have bore the brunt of head clashes in recent years, the most notable being the worryingly frequent concussions for Wales winger George North.

In an official release, World Rugby announced the details of the Law 9.13 amendments, covering the World Rugby U20 Championship and U20 Trophy.

NIPPLES?

In the latter, lower profile tournament, a new below the ‘nipple line’ target will be set, as opposed to the traditional shoulder line being what constitutes a high tackle or not. 

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said that he quite liked the concept. “I think it’s good, I think it’s better than below-the-shoulder because there’s quite a lot of games where you make the tackle and it doesn’t look to be a bad tackle and yet it’s been penalised.

“The clearer you can make it the better – we all know where our nipples are, so hit below that and you’re okay.”

Whereas former Wallaby, Waratahs and Toulon star Drew Mitchell felt it will create a new problem.

“By saying ‘nipple’ in the new law, you’re making a generalisation that referees can’t possibly rule with any consistency. They’ve just created a greater grey area and confusion around high tackles.

“They could have gone with armpits, the referees and fans can see where that is. This has been poorly worded,” said Mitchell.

It must be reiterated, however, that this is simply a trial and in the higher profile U20 World Championship, which kicks off this week, the main focus is outlawing the upright tackle, as explained below.

Ross Tucker’s “Four Minute Mull” on Rugby’s alarming head injuries

You can also view a more recent video of Tucker talking about the new law trials here.

18 Comments

  •  drg
    drg

    Followed by asking the victim of said tackle to remove his top in order to determine where exactly his nipples are...

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    I might register a design for an international standard nipple, just in case.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    How is that possible? And also, from what you've written it's asking for an u fair advantage for.the little guys.. what you mention before is that the small used to run round big in loose, big over small in tight... That sort of suggests it's equal.. All that's happened is the shorter guys have become mini monsters in order to compete with the big monsters.. and the big monsters have become faster.. Only thing I can think of to alter any of this is to introduce weight classes... "Heavyweight" down to "welterweight" or something like that.. maybe within that have forwards max weight as higher than backs max weight etc.. but I think that would end badly..

    Reply
  •  andinov
    andinov

    The source of the problem is that the game has become too reliant on size. There was a time when rugby was known as the game for all shapes and sizes because a smaller player could run around a bigger player in the open whereas the bigger player could run over the smaller one in the tight. Not so anymore. The game needs to alter its rules to give advantage to smaller players. This will see a tendency for all players to become lighter and result in reduced force in the collision.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I was thinking about that just now and how everything is about the extra mm in this game.. I wonder if we'll need an independent kit verifier if that happens? To make sure that some company hasn't worked with the team to ensure the nipple line on the kit is just that littttle bit lower than other teams...

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Mate... Some of the props I've played with/against in men's rugby are not much different!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Hahah good point... KO yourself on a Pacific islanders head which is solid as a rock and get banned...

    Reply
  •  dirtyflanker
    dirtyflanker

    What about women's rugby I've seen some big Ol'props that what have to be tackled around there ankles based on this.

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    I can just imagine the TMO running through several slow-mo angles and debating with the referee on live TV the exact location of these particular nipples.

    Reply
  •  pickay
    pickay

    Agreed. And considering that according to the research the tackler is mainly putting himself at risk if being too upright, I am not sure how useful the law changes will really be. As according to the new law high tackle warnings shall be issued for "all tackles that result in HIA, irrespective of whether to tackler or ball carrier", and a suspension may ensue, doesn't that mean it will become illegal to knock yourself out? Somehow I have a hard time getting my head around that aspect of the law.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    "72 per cent of head injuries in the tackle occur to the tackler" So... How is that going to be countered then? I assume we're stopping head to head somewhat, but I bet a good portion of that 72% is players with heads on wrong side, or heads meeting elbows/knees/hips/forearms..

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Give it another few years and you'd be banned for life for doing what Mako did..

    Reply
  •  leggaj5
    leggaj5

    So would Mako's hit that was posted yesterday be a penalty under these laws?

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    Kits will be designed soon with nipple lines - I would put money on it!

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    Serious comment though (booo): I can see what they are trying to do here. But I fear it will be countered by the upward trend in size and strength of players. If bigger blokes run faster into other bigger blokes there will be bigger collisions. And if the human brain can only take so much bashing about inside its bony container, then brain injuries will be more commonplace. Coupled with our better monitoring of these injuries, the reported numbers will naturally go up, surely? However with the law coming in as written, I'm with Drew Mitchell with his 'armpit' point. I think that kind of language also is more helpful to players learning the game, as it is more obvious the binding arms (or attempted binding at least) should go round the torso of the ball-carrying player in the tackle. This might be semantics, of course. And I suppose also as long as the language results in clear direction for the players and officials, then it may achieve some kind of consistency. Whether it will achieve its aims remains to be seen. I notice also the line "all tackles that result in HIA, irrespective whether to tackler or ball-carrier - this sounds strange, as we have seen HIAs for head vs floor and tackles where no obvious head contact has been made. Needs some clarification methinks...

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I guess maybe it's time to start wearing nipple tassles over the shirts so we all know where to aim for..

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    (or hookers - I've not seen my nipples for years...)

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    What about props with saggy tits? ;) (maybe some ageing fly-halves too!)

    Reply

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First of two new high tackle laws to be trialled this week at U20 Championship | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos