The Rugby Football Union council has voted to change the acceptable height for legal tackles in community rugby to the base of the sternum. This decision comes after the RFU faced backlash in January for proposing a lower tackle height at the waist without consulting with those in grassroots rugby.
After conducting an online survey and engaging in discussions, the RFU have now approved the revised height adjustment to be “the area of the tummy or belly and below”.
This will come as huge news to the grassroots community, with many players and supporters having threatened to leave the game altogether if the new laws were upheld.
RFU President, Nigel Gillingham said: “I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this consultation and to say thank you in advance to the wider rugby family who will be vital to ensuring we implement this change successfully. We along with many other Unions across the world are lowering the tackle height to reduce the risk of concussion. We know change is challenging however, it is imperative that we are guided by the science to help make the game safer for our players.”
The amended laws are as follows:
Law 9 Foul Play
9.11.(a) Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others including leading with the head, shoulder, elbow or forearm, or jumping into, or over an opponent.
9.11.(b) Ball-carriers must not lower their height significantly before making contact with an opponent in open play
9.12. A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm, head, shoulder, forearm or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking.
9.13. A player must not tackle or attempt to tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent in open play above the base of the sternum even if the tackle starts below the base of the sternum.