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Wednesday Dec 14, 2016

World Rugby announce zero tolerance approach to contact with the head

World Rugby announce zero tolerance approach to contact with the head
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World Rugby have today announced that as of 3 January 2017, they will be adopting a tougher approach towards players making contact with the head. The new guidelines will fall into two clear categories, one being reckless, and the other being accidental.

The sport’s governing body want to strenghten their commitment to injury prevention, however, they have stated that injuries in the game are not on the rise.

They would like everyone involved in rugby to become part of a proactive approach towards reducing the risk of injury for all players.

World Rugby have redefined illegal (high) tackle categories and have increased sanctions to deter dangerous tackles from taking place.

This new law application guideline, which will effectively lower the acceptable height of tackles, will apply to all levels of the game from early next year.

The approach, approved by the World Rugby Council after extensive expert, independent and union evaluation, combines with new disciplinary sanctions and a re-focus of match officials on dangerous play. It will provide a package of measures that aims to change culture in the sport to ensure that the head is a no-go area.
 
“Rugby is a physical sport and there will always be a level of injury risk associated with it but the sport is doing as much as it can to make it as safe as possible,” said Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong.

World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr Martin Raftery added: “World Rugby is committed to playing a leading role in the sporting head injury agenda and continues to drive forward evidence-based strategies in education, prevention, management and research that are proving successful in protecting players at all levels of the sport.”

From 3 January, two new categories of dangerous tackles will carry penalty offences to deter and eradicate high tackles:

Reckless tackle
A player is deemed to have made reckless contact during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game if in making contact, the player knew or should have known that there was a risk of making contact with the head of an opponent, but did so anyway.

This sanction applies even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. This type of contact also applies to grabbing and rolling or twisting around the head/neck area even if the contact starts below the line of the shoulders.
 
Minimum sanction: Yellow card
Maximum sanction: Red card
 
Accidental tackle

When making contact with another player during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game, if a player makes accidental contact with an opponent’s head, either directly or where the contact starts below the line of the shoulders, the player may still be sanctioned. This includes situations where the ball-carrier slips into the tackle.
 
Minimum sanction: Penalty

World Rugby will support this initiative with a global awareness and education programme.
More info here »

41 Comments

  • drg
    11:04 PM 19/12/2016

    I agree there is nothing wrong with trying to limit catastrophic injuries, however I don't believe that what they have introduced is something that can be policed properly and effectively. They have basically put a blanket out there and said "ANYTHING gets a card" (ok, not quite, but you know what I mean). The problem is that it leaves no room for referee common sense....

    Reply
  • danknapp
    10:13 PM 18/12/2016

    Comment order is fooked, so don't know which I'm replying to, but basically... Dangers abound. Fine. You can't remove the danger from the game, nor should you. At the same time there is nothing wrong with trying to limit the danger of catastrophic injuries. Attempting to limit the risk of injury to the head through conventional tackles is not the same as trying to reduce all risk. For what it's worth I think World Rugby has backed itself into a corner. The latest directives have simply caused a situation where we've seen card after card in the European competition. We need to get current players and referees on the panel to discuss how to make sense of the current laws. At the moment it's all over the place.

    Reply
  • drg
    2:03 AM 18/12/2016

    For some reason the replies are all ending up in the wrong order... or on top of the comment I was replying too....and I'm 99% sure it's not user error...

    Reply
  • drg
    7:52 PM 17/12/2016

    P.s, comment order is all over the place... Not sure if that was me or the site...sorry for confusion :)

    Reply
  • drg
    7:42 PM 17/12/2016

    The problem I have Dan is that the game by its very nature is inherently dangerous.... I have an acquaintance that broke his neck playing rugby fortunately for him he is not wheelchair bound and to this day he will participate in non contact training for fitness and to help out with experience. Thom Evans (I think it was him) broke his neck against Wales in a fairly innocuous looking incident that was within the laws of the game. I have seen at least 2 former players (online) who have broken their necks in scrum collapses. I have played in two games where players have broken legs. I have played in another 2 at least where arms have been broken. I have witnessed friends who have dislocated shoulders. I have friends who habe have broken collar bones... The list continues and its starting to sound like I play with a bunch of calcium deficient blokes but I assure you that is probably not the case.... That's not including the encyclopaedia worth of other ligament, muscle and tendon injuries. I am all for player safety, but I am 99% sure that all incidents listed above that I have witnessed were within the laws of the game. Head clashes and rising tackles were within the game a handful of years ago, they slowly became illegal and yet we are seeing more and more steps being taken to reduce things that are not being reduced..... So why are we not banning scrums? We've had more and more changes to scrum engagement which frankly have done pretty much fk all, they're still collapsing in exactly the same manner - perhaps less collapses, but the same nonetheless... The issues I have with this game are that we are no longer allowed to lift players in tackles...so that rules out dump tackles - low tackles... The increase jn offloads has led to higher up tackle which are now being clamped down on.... My point is, go the whole hog... Ban tackling and ban contact, if we want safety then remove ALL aspects of danger... Will players be held accountable for their own...

    Reply
  • danknapp
    6:15 PM 17/12/2016

    Absolutely what I was arguing, thank you for your contribution. Wouldn't it have been a shame if a sensible thread got sidelined into a series of ridiculous straw man arguments? Look, we have players who are retiring with serious problems due to the number of concussions they've received. Those brain injuries can lead to serious conditions later in life. Players across all levels of the game are getting bigger as our knowledge about weight training, nutrition, and so on improves. Our brains remain the same. Why the hell wouldn't we want to protect people who are playing the game? I know you, and others, have an issue with the gladiatorial nature of the game being (you feel) stripped away. I'm afraid it's a view that I have little time for. Rugby remains, for 99.9% of the people who play it, a game which they enjoy playing on the weekend and then they go back to their lives. For the game to not take into account what we know about the dangers of concussions is, for me, unforgivable. In Cane's case, and in many others like it, people get injured because of an accidental collision. This rule change simply clarifies that there IS something wrong if two players clash heads, and if the person initiating the tackle (and argue what you like, but Cane was moving into position to tackle) hasn't gone low enough to prevent a head injury, then they have committed an offence. The tackler has a duty of care towards the person they are tackling. Cane was not standing still, as you know, but was instead moving to cover an attacker.

    Reply
  • drg
    4:34 PM 17/12/2016

    Hartley doesn't represent my team so it doesn't matter if he represents England to me.... I think Hartley's ban was fairly lenient IF it wasn't an accident, however when you tot up how weak a tackle it would have been had he not hit SOB in the head then one is left ruling out a legitimate tackle leaving 2 options, he simply wanted to stiff arm SOB in the head, or he was trying to knock the ball out.... Given his priors you'd be forgiven. For automatically jumping to the former.... But given his recent success with England and his current good form, you'd be simple if you didn't even consider the fact it may have been an accident. Either way, it happened and he was banned. It's a tough sport and either legit or illegitimate hits come in and we are taught to roll with them, not take a backwards step (even consider little Stringer here!) and at the end of it, be a semi decent bloke, if that means apologising to someone you punched in the face then so be it.... But someone clearly forgot those lessons in Papes curriculum.... You say he's actually not a bad bloke (disciplinary wise). Put it this way, I'd rather be a Hartley than a diving prick like Pape... And the amusing thing about that is, if you're a pape or have a pape on your team then you're actually more likely to have a better chance of winning by getting others sent off... Unlike Hartley which could easily leave you with 14 men! Let's not forget Pape is no angel, I noted in the other video that prior to the game where he was punched in the stomach for holding on to SOB, he also kneed Jamie Heaslip in the back.... And how unfairly he was treated for that right? The referees words? Something like, "it wasn't an accident" - yellow card!!!!

    Reply
  • drg
    10:46 PM 16/12/2016

    Sanitation at it's finest... might as well remove all risk in the game and playing walking touch...

    Reply
  • danknapp
    9:20 PM 16/12/2016

    Because he was moving into the tackle area, he was clearly approaching the guy to tackle him. Yes, he had him step towards him, but he was initiating contact. He has a responsibility to take the other player's safety into consideration. He wasn't standing still. Penalty, no more. He wasn't completely blameless, but no card was deserved.

    Reply
  • drg
    6:26 PM 16/12/2016

    Because the entirety of D2 in France already sets a gleaming example to the youth.....

    Reply
  • drg
    6:23 PM 16/12/2016

    How can you consider punishing a bloke for standing still and having a guy run face first into him???!?! It's a farce!

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:18 AM 16/12/2016

    Cane's incident is the BEST to use. It would surely count as an accidental tackle. Penalty, no more.

    Reply
  • oliver
    9:54 AM 16/12/2016

    But there is no "if". He does have a record. actually he pretty much has the worst record of any pro active player. Therefore it sends a very bad message to young players: you can gouge, bite, headbutt, abuse the ref, and still be named captain of the national team.

    Reply
  • oliver
    9:49 AM 16/12/2016

    A ginger 125 kilos/1,95 m Mexican would cause quite a sensation I'm sure! Lucha libre?

    Reply
  • drg
    10:52 PM 15/12/2016

    RD is an article on Davies coming along?

    Reply
  • drg
    10:51 PM 15/12/2016

    *above the waist ....*whistle* The headbones connected to the footbone...

    Reply
  • drg
    8:55 PM 15/12/2016

    Cane incident is the worst incident to apply to these new laws... In my opinion at least (for what it's worth)... Cane didn't as much tackle Henshaw as let Henshaw run into him face first... So to sanction the guy is wrong.... ...but again...my opinion that may not be shared...

    Reply
  • drg
    8:52 PM 15/12/2016

    Yeh Jimmy and noir, or maybe, JUST maybe, the latest Hartley 'incident' was a complete genuine accident! I'm happy for anyone to think whatever they want about it, I'm not really convinced one way or the other, but if Hartley was a complete angel, we'd all think 50-50's or (whatever proportion you reckon) was probably an accident.... In which case stripping him completely of captaincy could be deemed quite hard

    Reply
  • mackinaw
    6:22 PM 15/12/2016

    I think the Sam Cane/Henshaw example is a good one to look at here (esp with reference to Barritt's head). The NZ response is that it was an accidental head clash, and therefore should not be sanctioned (since it wasn't a shoulder or arm to the head). But surely if player safety is the concern, then we want to find ways to get fewer accidental head clashes -- which are probably far more dangerous than a lot of the high tackles that look bad but can be pretty innocuous. In the Sam Cane case, he was going for a "dominant tackle": not a headshot, high but not "too" high. Then Henshaw spins & ducks, and gets conked out (by head or shoulder, who cares?). Fair play to say Cane's tackle was fine under the existing interpretation of the laws. But presumably we want laws that make Cane think twice before starting an fine-line tackle that turns into a bad one because of a couple of centimetres. Under the new rules, Cane's tackle looks like a reckless tackle. If he goes a touch lower, the tackle is going to be less dominant, and less dangerous. I think/hope having more clarity about it will help refs and players make good decisions. Giving reds/yellows for tip tackles hasn't ruined rugby. I guess this won't. (That said, Beale's Yellow was a travesty -- should have been no more than a penalty. Hartley's red was about right. The problem is, as always, consistency).

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    6:18 PM 15/12/2016

    Please point out the moment where I said that Hartley should continue being captain after this incident? Sorry, but he was a great captain and I thought that being given this responsibility helped him turn a new leaf. Maybe it's not always about being perfect from the start, but also about showing that change is possible? Sadly, it wasn't the case here. My comments about England needing an abrasive captain were clearly referencing the fact that Martin Johnson and Dylan Hartley have both been captains at significant high points in England's rugby history.

    Reply
  • heavyhooker
    6:13 PM 15/12/2016

    If you want zero tolerance, then any apology or Twitter "I'm sorry" has no bearing. You did it, you have no reduction for your after action Twitters. We all seem to remember how things were "cack then" when all this was not needed. But what we need to remember is that back 30 - 40 years ago the game was slower and the whole flow of the game was different. Things are faster and there is more crash and bashing going on. Maybe these rules will slow things down a bit and make players think more about their tackling techniques. As for players ducking into tackles, I think that is not really a problem in so far as players doing it on purpose for a penalty. We were taught to brace and crouch into a hit and when you are 6'2"+ you can only get so low as a ball carrier.

    Reply
  • cluainoir
    5:39 PM 15/12/2016

    So you are ok with biting, gouging, headbutting, abusing referee's and cowardly stiff arming someone on the head from behind as long as the chariot keeps rolling? That says something I suppose. The man has been banned now for a total of 60 weeks, an ideal man for your children to aspire to be.

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    1:31 PM 15/12/2016

    What if he is? That'd be a hell of a surprise. But seriously, woops, my bad and also agree.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    12:25 PM 15/12/2016

    I was conflicted about Hartley when he was appointed. He had a terrible track record that doesn't set the best example, but I think most people would agree that he's been a great captain for England. Martin Johnson wasn't exactly a nice guy either and we did pretty well with him too. We had that squeaky clean captain who set that "good boy" example (Robshaw) for 4 years and it didn't work. Maybe that just says something about England, we need an abrasive captain to shine!

    Reply
  • colombes
    12:03 PM 15/12/2016

    Won't comment on Hartley ban, too commented, i prefer to keep my view for myself at this point. Even if i didn't understand rfu way to defend the player, i can understand them. First english captain to lead a gland slam team since 2003, Eddie Jones installing a rugged forward style... who else could captain england? Regarding the "zero tolerance" completely ok with it, as long as refs will be well formed to identify the difference between reckless and accidental. I guess we will unfortunately have more and more tmo sessions...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:20 AM 15/12/2016

    Exactly, if it's already being abused then why add potentially clear cut rules that will be easier for players to know how to abuse. High tackles are already illegal, so now we're making them more illegal? Or we're saying 'any contact is yellow or red" which is going to be played on. Sure we have play acting but the aim is to stamp that out, not bolster it up. I hate to sound like a 50 yr old front row saying the game should never change because there is a lot of good changes, but this sanitising of a game which is dangerous just can't be sustainable.....

    Reply
  • stroudos
    11:12 AM 15/12/2016

    Ah, but the decision on Hartley was made before this announcement. *Just* before... Any suggestion that the timing and sequence of these two events were in any way orchestrated by actors behind the scenes, at the RFU or any other organisation, would of course be no more than cynical, baseless conjecture.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    11:04 AM 15/12/2016

    Yeah, I'm probably with Dan on this. However, I hope it's not "over-policed", where innocuous accidental head contact is immediately sanctioned, but the ref can apply some discretion. It really used to wind me up when commentators would eulogise about the "warrior" Brad Barritt, as he walked off the pitch with blood pissing out of this face from tackling people with his head. All that bravery and putting your body on the line business only goes so far. I'm sure he never deliberately intended to hit people with his noggin, but I would suspect that the threat of a yellow card might make those accidental head clashes a bit less frequent.

    Reply
  • cluainoir
    9:09 AM 15/12/2016

    This on the day that dylan hartley received a miserly 6 week ban for a deliberate forearm smash to the the head and neck of another player. Zero tolerance? I think not

    Reply
  • jonnyenglish
    9:01 AM 15/12/2016

    Lets hope our sport has more integrity than that. *cough*Pepe*cough*

    Reply
  • spencah
    8:57 AM 15/12/2016

    And here I was thinking they already had a zero tolerance approach....bubble wrap for everyone please!!

    Reply
  • danknapp
    7:09 AM 15/12/2016

    We already live in a world where they might do that. We suspect that some players are dropping their head and shoulders when being lifted in the tackle in order to get a tackler banned. It has still had the overall affect of lessening the number of tip tackles. I'm all for it. Yes, the laws will be abused, they always are, but you have to put player safety first.

    Reply
  • im1
    6:40 AM 15/12/2016

    Seems like these guidelines are based on the referee assessing the intent of the tackler...

    Reply
  • drg
    12:03 AM 15/12/2016

    That is something that I do find a bit troubling sometimes. The referee asks the TMO for the video to be played to show him an 'incident'... then he asks the TMO what he thinks... don't get me wrong, I don't see anything wrong with making correct decisions, however when you get referees saying "yeh, I reckon it's a bit meh" and the TMO comes on and says, "ummmm, I think you should have another look".... so.. referee can't see a big screen and what happened with multiple slow mo and real time replays and make a correct decision without a helping hand from the TMO... ...OR even vice versa, referee says "this deserves death" and the TMO goes "mmmmmk, up to you chief"... by giving the referees more options, you've now given them more options to become less culpable. Sure when the buck stops, it'll stop with the referee, however I hate the way the game is heading.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:56 PM 14/12/2016

    Or players will deliberately slip or dip into tackles and feign injury or head contact so as to secure penalties or a possible card opportunity...

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:39 PM 14/12/2016

    Less tackles around the head, good thing. Lower tackles lead to more offloads, good thing. Fewer players having careers cut short due to head injuries, good thing. Accidental tackles being recognised as a 'thing', good... er... thing. Happy with these guidelines. Basically if you're not careful and smash someone in the head, expect a card. If they dip and you clip their head by accident, then it might just be a penalty. The referees now have a bit more flexibility, not less.

    Reply
  • pdg
    10:53 PM 14/12/2016

    The referees at the moment seem incapable of making their own decisions regarding high tackles even with use of the TMO. Why are the referees constantly asking the TMO to decide on the punishment given. This surely should be the sole charge of the referee. While i totally agree with the first part of the law, the second part is so wide ranging and unclear to the degree that a BALL CARRYING player will be now able to gain a penalty simply by going into contact in such a low position that head contact is inevitable with the tackler. Not helpful to the referee or the game

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    10:34 PM 14/12/2016

    It's weird. Refs are more a part of the game than ever before yet they have less discretion than ever. Tackles come off wrong sometimes. Life goes on. I hate this 0 tolerance stuff.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:12 PM 14/12/2016

    Precisely! Referees clearly don't have the ability to have any common sense so why not remove all doubt and take it out of their hands all together... Any head contact is a red.... Done and dusted.... Anything below the neck and above the chest is a yellow and anything below there requires an immediate apology and a cuddle....

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    8:34 PM 14/12/2016

    I'm all for player welfare but I've never agreed with a defender getting penalised/carded when the player he's trying to tackle ducks/falls into it or when they tackle a player and they slide up. These things aren't always in their control and getting punished for it is kind of redundant. High tackles that are reckless/intentional *cough* are what should be punished. Rugby isn't always a game that is clear cut and I feel that this needs to be more recognised when it comes to these sort of decisions.

    Reply
  • tphillipsstl
    7:42 PM 14/12/2016

    this is so silly.

    Reply


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World Rugby announce zero tolerance approach to contact with the head | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos