The former Wales captain discussed Tomos Williams’s head injury during BBC coverage of France match
Sam Warburton “in disbelief” at poor tackle technique
Sam Warburton believes poor tackle technique is the cause of many brain injuries in rugby.
The former Wales and British & Irish Lions captain was speaking on BBC television during the coverage of Wales v France in Cardiff on Friday night.
France kept their Grand Slam dream alive with a narrow 13-9 Six Nations win over the hosts, but head injuries were again a talking point after two first-half incidents.
The first – and most harrowing – came in the lead up to Anthony Jelonch’s try in the ninth minute. Tomos Williams went to tackle Jonathan Danty but sustained a serious injury in doing so as he got his head on the wrong side and he struggled to get back to his feet afterwards. He tried to rejoin the defensive line but medics managed to hold him back.
Williams was permanently replaced, rather than going for an HIA, having shown signs of concussion, and Kieran Hardy came on at scrum-half. He will now go through the return-to-play protocols.
Midway through the first half, prop Gareth Thomas also got his head on the wrong side while tackling Antoine Dupont. He went for an HIA, which he passed, so he returned to the field and went on to play until the 67th minute.
Warburton was working as a pundit for the BBC at the match and described how he felt tackle technique was to blame for the head injuries.
He believes it’s a facet of the game that isn’t coached enough, particularly at elite level, and more attention should be put on teaching players to tackle with both shoulders.
Watching clips of the two incidents, he said: “That should be a left-shoulder tackle, so Tomos Williams’s head should be on the right-hand side of Danty.
“This is the same again with Gareth Thomas; he’s hit him with his left shoulder and that should be right, so your head’s on the wrong side.
“Honestly, I’m in disbelief sometimes when I watch international rugby at how many players do not choose the right shoulder, they just favour a shoulder and they go with it.
“It’s something that I think is under-coached and when you’re in an international environment you coach on systems and things like that. Tackling off both shoulders is like being able to pass off both hands – it’s just a given.”
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