Tackle height will be reduced from waist height down after rugby union bosses approved a law variation


Radical tackle height reduction law variation approved by RFU

In a move hoped to improve player safety, the Rugby Football Union council approved changes to the community game in England that will commence from 1 July.

The community game covers National One and all levels below it in the men’s game while the women’s game is Championship One and below.

“Players’ welfare must always be at the centre of decisions we make about how we play the game of rugby,” said RFU President Nigel Gillingham.

“Evidence from our own research and from around the world clearly shows that lowering the tackle height will reduce head impact exposure and the risk of concussion. The RFU Council is able to influence how the game is played at the community level in this country and, therefore, has unanimously supported the decision to lower the tackle height to waist level. The tackle will remain the primary method of stopping the ball carrier using safe techniques that are taught from an early age.”

From the start of the 2023-24 season under the new law variations, tackles must be made at the line of the waist and below.

The RFU’s aim is to put players’ heads in the safest possible place by defining law where the line of the tackle may start.

Gillingham added: “While this change will apply to matches in the community game in England, the RFU will continue its work to reduce head impacts in contact training in both the community and elite games and be supportive of any law changes that World Rugby proposes for matches at the elite level that will further reduce head impact exposure.”

A range of training and support will be put in place for players, coaches and match officials by the RFU.

This will include face-to-face workshops, webinars, e-learning and video guidance. Training will be rolled out from the spring, through the summer and into next season.

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