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Scottish Rugby Follow South Africa And France As They Unveil Plans To Lower Tackle Height

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Wednesday Apr 12, 2023

Scottish Rugby have announced their intention to trial a new tackle law in the community game which will come into effect at the start of the 2023/24 season.

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Following with community rugby stakeholders, the decision was taken to run the trial which will see the tackle point drop from shoulder height to below the sternum.

The move to the lower tackle height follows the World Rugby endorsed trials which have been trialled in both South Africa and France.

The new law trials which have been approved by Scotland’s Club Rugby Board (CRB) are:

• Maximum height tackle in initial contact must be below the sternum.
• The second tackler is still permitted, but the player must make initial contact below the sternum.
• There will be no change to the current laws regarding the ball carrier, but reckless play will be sanctioned (eg. leading with head) where the ball carrier put themselves or the defender at risk of a head-on-head contact.
• There will be no change to the current laws regarding a ‘pick and go’ scenario.

Scottish Rugby’s Rugby Development department were commissioned by the CRB to conduct a series of online consultation sessions in February with clubs, schools, and referee societies.

Of those who participated in the consultation, 80 percent indicated they were in favour of the lower tackle height, with only six percent stating they were content with current laws.

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Last month, World Rugby’s Executive Board recommended that national Unions participate in an opt-in global trial of lowering the tackle height in their respective community games to a below the sternum level.

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