March 13 (Reuters) – Planet Rugby will encourage member unions to join a international trial of lowering tackle height to under the sternum in the neighborhood game, the governing physique has mentioned, stressing the significance of decreasing injury danger by way of “education, sanction and law modify”.

It pointed to trials carried out in France and South Africa, saying they had delivered good advancements in terms of player security, though also enhancing all round game practical experience.

“Planet Rugby continues to be guided by science and analysis as aspect of a relentless concentrate on decreasing injury danger by way of education, sanction and law modify,” it mentioned in a statement.

“A reduction in the legal tackle height to under the sternum demonstrates elevated security outcomes though retaining the exclusive qualities of the game.”

Unions will be cost-free to establish the precise tackle height inside their jurisdiction, the physique added.

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Soon after consultations with unions, Planet Rugby will submit a tackle height action strategy to its Council in May possibly.

Rugby Australia mentioned on Monday it intended to participate in the trial, with the competitions for trialling decrease tackling but to be finalised.

The governing physique would seek feedback from stakeholders ahead of generating any selection on altering the tackle height, chief executive Andy Marinos mentioned.

“We will continue to make sure that any choices impacting the game are informed by analysis and proof that prioritise player security and welfare,” Marinos added.

In January, England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) banned tackling above the waist in neighborhood rugby matches from subsequent season, though Scottish Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) are exploring related moves.

“The neighborhood game is the lifeblood of our sport … and the proposed tackle height adjustment has currently delivered good game shape and playing practical experience outcomes in pilot trials – this is vital to the sport’s future,” Planet Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont mentioned.

“The proof we have, from France in certain, shows that not only does decreasing the tackle height make the game safer but it increases numbers playing as effectively. That has to be the aim for everybody involved in our game.”


The RFU’s selection to modify tackle height was met with widespread criticism. The governing physique apologised for causing “anger and concern”, ahead of launching initiatives to “listen to and study from men and women across the game”.

Planet Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin acknowledged that a move to alter the laws of the game could encounter resistance, saying, “modify can be tough”.

“We appreciate that there will be sections of the neighborhood game who will query this move, but … such a modify has the potential to improve enjoyment, reassure parents and welcome lots of new participants to the sport we all enjoy,” Gilpin added.

He had previously spoken of Planet Rugby’s intention to decrease the legal tackling height at elite level in coming years and reiterated that message, saying the physique was “open to discussions” with unions more than a future trial at elite level to broaden analysis information.

Groups of amateur and ex-expert players have brought claims against rugby bodies alleging they negligently failed to safeguard them from concussion and non-concussion injuries that triggered numerous neurological issues.

The governing bodies have repeatedly mentioned that they take player security “quite seriously”.

Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru, More reporting by Hritika Sharma Editing by Ken Ferris, Peter Rutherford

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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