World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper has urged referees to show more cards in a continued effort to stamp out dangerous tackles.
The November internationals have seen a few dangerous tackles go unpunished, including England flyhalf Owen Farrell’s hit on Springbok centre André Esterhuizen. Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi also received no punishment for clattering into Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny, with the latter ruled out of his side’s next two Tests because of concussion.
World Rugby has continually emphasised its campaign to eradicate dangerous tackles, particularly those that impact on the head, as the problem of concussion continues to blight the game.
Gosper says referees have to be tougher, as not enough has been done to prevent injuries from collisions in the professional game.
‘The cards are there to change behaviour,’ he told the Daily Mirror. ‘They only continue to be a problem if behaviour does not change. The only way you can get player behaviour to change is to sanction with red cards, and actually we have probably not seen enough of it.
‘I would say in many ways we have probably not been hard enough. We have not had the behavioural change that we are seeking yet, so we have to continue in that vein.
‘The whole tackle law is to protect the ball-carrier and the tackler, in fact mostly the tackler, given that two-thirds of concussions occur to that player, rather than the one carrying the ball,’ Gosper added.
‘Dropping the height of the tackle is due to the statistics showing us that if the player is bent at the waist as they tackle, they are four times less likely to suffer a concussion.’
Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA