I hope World Rugby’s proposed new tackling rule doesn’t go ahead, because honestly, if you find the endless ridiculous penalties in rugby frustrating, this will make it so much worse.
So the proposal is to drop the tackle line from the chest down to the waist. They’ll trial it and if it works, it’ll be in place by the 2023 World Cup.
Now the rationale behind it, you can’t fault.
World Rugby wants to limit concussions, which are a problem in sport and they are a problem in rugby and parents of kids are choosing which sports little Johnnie and little jenny play based on how much damage they will suffer.
That puts rugby at a disadvantage from sports like basketball and football where there’s less person on person contact.
And World Rugby says they’ve tried this out at the world rugby under 20 comp over the last two years and it reduced concussion by 50 percent.
So that’s great, but here are the problems.
One, it takes some of the skill out of the game. A good tackler will wrap up the player and the ball. But a tackle at waste height or below… won’t catch the players arms which means this is going to turn every player into SBW players will offload so much more easily.
Second, when you have a player diving for a line and another player diving for that player, how are you going to ensure that the contact is waste down?
You have two humans travelling through the air at speed, the chances that that the tackle will be above the waste are high, which mean penalties, all the time.
And rugby is a sport that’s prone to taking an error and turning it into a red. Just look back a year when the French player collided with Beaudy Barrett in the air, he did nothing wrong, he just jumped for the ball but Barrett fell on his neck and the French player got red carded.
That’s what rugby’s ridiculous rules do, it leads to unfair penalties and refs who have their hands tied.
Plus, nonsense rules like this rip the guts out of what rugby’s about, It’s a contact sport. You run at each other… you grab you tackle you scrum, you come out with scratches and bruises and funny ears.
Sure, rugby is rough and that may put some kids off. But if rugby goes too far the other way and kills what the game is about, that’ll put kids off too.