Wednesday Jul 25, 2018

Sensible tackle law trial announced for new domestic competition

Sensible tackle law trial announced for new domestic competition
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A new tackle height law trial will take place in the upcoming Championship Cup 2018/2019 season, the RFU announced today. The new domestic competition, which starts in November, will feature a trial law that is designed with player safety in mind.

Following a controversial ‘nipple height’ law trial announcement for the World Rugby U20 Trophy competition, the RFU – in collaboration with World Rugby – have made an amendment to Law 9.13.

The amended law, taking place only in the Championship Cup, will alter the definition of a high tackle from above the line of the shoulders, to above the armpit line.

The amended Championship Cup Law 9.13 will now read: A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the armpit line even if the tackle starts below the armpit line.

The trial aims to assess the impact of introducing a lower tackle height in elite adult rugby on the incidence of concussion and other injuries, player behaviour in the tackle, the nature of tackles, head injury events and other game events.

This will include all 43 games in the pool stages and play-off rounds of the competition.

A detailed analysis of this trial will be compared to existing data from the English professional game to help inform any wider approach. All data will be shared with World Rugby to be added to research collected from a similar trial in the World Rugby U20 Trophy competition.
 
Nigel Melville RFU Professional Rugby Director said: “The RFU is committed to an evidence-based approach to injury-prevention. We know from our latest professional rugby injury surveillance report that 47% of all match injuries are associated with the tackle and that concussion accounted for 19% of all injuries to the ball carrier and 43% of all injuries to the tackler, highlighting the tackle as the key game event when developing concussion reduction strategies.
 
“We believe lowering the height of the tackle will benefit both the ball carrier and the tackler.”

World Rugby believe that having the data on hand from the various trials in different competitions will help them in their continued commitment to further reducing concussion risk in rugby.

The Championship Cup, which came to be after the decision of Championship clubs to withdraw from the British & Irish Cup, kicks off on November 10th. Full season fixtures can be viewed here.

WATCH: ‘The Bear Pit’, on Bristol Bears, who are now back in the Premiership. More info

12 Comments

  •  larry
    larry

    That's very true, the difference between 7s and 15s. But why are there so many 2 on 1 tackles now in the modern game? Defenses are certainly more organized, but another issue, when the ball is getting passed out from a breakdown, is running dummy runners ahead of play. I do not like this tactic one bit, for it borders on obstruction that isn't called often; the other factor is dummy runners aren't behind in support of the ball carriers, so two defenders getting onto a single runner is more of a possibility. Look at old matches on Youtube when dummy runners weren't emplyed. once a ball got outside a ruck or maul, there were 1 on 1 situations, rarely 2 on 1! Again, there is going to be less of a probability of injury then, I think, and the possibility of quick hands and the ball beating any attempted tackles.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    The drugs used to increase the size and power of players can be controlled, players tested, and those caught getting suspended and/or banned. The game's laws certainly have speeded up the game as well. Has it speeded it up to the point that there is more tackle contact because of the increase of running with ball in hand? Yes is my answer. I have one law change in particular that has caused more running instead of kicking safely to touch: the law change in which a player can no longer pass the ball to his or her teammate from outside the 22 for a direct kick to touch. The lineouts are less then, overall. Ever see many injuries in a lineout? NO, except for foul play. Have you seen more tackles of players, many times caught inside their 22 because they had to run the ball? Yes. I've seen it as a referee. The more opportunity for tackles in a match, the more probability of injury. Perhaps there should be a different set of laws for the high-level professional and international matches, and a different set of laws for amateurs.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    The drugs side of things is a tough one. When you consider the short space of time someone has to get into a rugby career, it's no surprise they turn to things like supplements and who really knows what is in those supplements? I dare say it's probably more of a forwards thing, unless someone wants to be a beast back. To put it in a rather simplified crude manner, backs have skill: good speed, agility, kicking, soft hands etc. Forwards have grunt, and doggedness, both require strength, and mass behind that also helps.. everything can be improved in terms of fitness/speed/handling, but that raw talent to become an international back is potentially something that's ingrained in the individual from an early age (more so anyway). What early teenager knows what substances are banned by World rugby? And what those substances are found in? Not that they should be taking them, but given the requirements to be built like one of the Tuilagi boys by the age of 15, it's no surprise unconventional measures are taken. We all know "roids are banned", but how many people know what steroids are what, and their real names and what they are doing with them etc etc. I've known amateur players taking steroids, they'll never get caught, who ever does drug tests at amateur level?? Steroids can be prescribed for allergies, be administered for rehabilitation. It's just such a minefield out there, it's hit and miss on who gets caught. The game is tightening down on so many things that it's just highlighting how unrealistic it is to keep everything watertight and how outdated other aspects are.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    Yes, the big difference is that most tackles in 7s are 1-on-1, whereas in 15's it is usually 2-on-1. In terms of fixing it, the authorities could maybe actually punish players for taking drugs.... https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/44969119

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Yeh, but the thing with 7's is the turnaround, multiple matches per day, quick matches quick, recovery time but also the style and perhaps the lack of players on the pitch makes it different compared to the more dogged areas of 15's. Heavy rucks/mauls are not really the solution in 7's. Of course they compete in rucks, but throwing in 2-3 attackers into a ruck over your tackled player whilst the oppo throws in 2-3 defenders isn't common. Then again, it would be interesting to see the stats around concussions in 15's to concussions in 7's.. Also, on the note of that and of Force, I assume 15's may be more likely to have those killer crunching hits due to the fact that the two men either side of the tackler can easily close the gap if it all goes wrong. In 7's if you're going to commit to a tackle, you d better make that tackle..

    Reply
  •  andinov
    andinov

    What causes injury, as much as in a car crash as in a rugby tackle is force. You increase the force you increase the likelihood of injury. Any of the scientists down in the RugbyDump lab will tell us that the amount of force in a tackle is relative to size of the players involved and the speed at which they are moving (F = ma). Most of us would also agree that the game has not only become 'heavier' but has also sped up which is why in the modern game we're witnessing a sudden increase in injuries (not to mention the unforeseen long term effects of these injuries into middle and older age groups might have). So we have 2 choices, slow the game down (reduce the acceleration) or make the players lighter (reduce the mass). I'm not particularly for slowing the game down, for one it's advantageous to heavier players so any benefit might be offset by increasingly massive players. So what the game has to do is figure out a way to reduce the size of the players. I have ideas for reducing the size of players but none of them are particularly satisfactory unfortunately. Incidentally, this is why in rugby 7s, with very similar rules at both the break down and the tackle don't have anything near the injury profile the 15s have.

    Reply
  •  andinov
    andinov

    Interesting point

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Or sod everyone, and put a giant disclaimer at the start of it and say if you want to go down this career path you will run the risks of "xyz" do you wish to continue and if people don't like seeing it they can choose to look away.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    This is one of the points that I made a while back when we had some concussion figures a few months back. I could be way off, but I think it said something about 70% of rugby concussion injuries occured to a tackler... So as you rightly said, this is not going to help change the matter. I've seen KO's from: 1. Getting a heel to the head as they've dived to catch a runner. 2. Shins 3. Knees 4. Hips 5. Forearms from tucked in arms 6. Elbows from tucked in arms 7. Shoulders 8. Heads on head So really, we've reduced 2 of the dangerous factors, just another 6 to go. But we're not looking at the stats in the correct way. If we can eradicate that 19% of head injuries to the ball carrier then OVERALL concussions on paper will be reduced and the whole thing can be deemed a gleaming success and we can all pat ourselves on the back, take a nice little bonus/retirement and hand over a pile of shit to the next guy who has 0 chance of getting rid of head injuries unless he bans tackling altogether..

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    Maybe it's time to change the rules for professional rugby and professional rugby only. The issues that the top 1% face are not issues for the average participant. I'm talking about contested high balls, scrum resets, tmo issues etc. Right now the tail (the 1% of televised elite) is wagging the dog (the boys, girls, men, and women that turn up on Saturdays around the world). The NBA plays different rules than college or international b ball. Same for American football and baseball vs the amateur versions. The goals of pro and amateur sport are different: pro sport is about creating a spectacle or product worth purchasing. Amateur sport is about creating a fair and enjoyable contest for the participants. I remember my old teammates talking about this issue when rugby went pro. You can have a participant model or a product. You cannot have both.

    Reply
  •  ruckinmaul
    ruckinmaul

    "concussion accounted for 19% of all injuries to the ball carrier and 43% of all injuries to the tackler." I can assure, that 43% injuries to the tackler is because they tackled low and not high, and it is highly contradict with the reason to change the law.

    Reply

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  • How is this "sensible"? It is going to get heavily abused by attacking sides. It gives every incentive to just charge head down into tackles. Defender touches your shoulder while trying to tackle you? Penalty.

    Reply

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