World Rugby tackles head injuries

Following wide-ranging investigations into head injuries, World Rugby officials are set to discuss an experimental change in laws surrounding the tackle.

Having conducted a detailed study of more than 600 incidents, which revealed that 72% of injuries were sustained in a tackle situation, investigators also ascertained that 76% of the injuries were suffered by the player making the tackle, not the ball-carrier.

'We looked at about 15 variables in the tackle, what causes the injuries, and one interesting one we found was that if people are bent at the waist, the ball-carrier, you get fewer head injuries,' World Rugby’s chief medical officer Martin Rafferty commented.

'So we asked the experts “How can we get players to bend at the waist in the game?” and they’ve come up with some recommendations.'

If any changes are made, they would most likely be trialed in a minor competition, with a World Rugby spokesman confirming that any recommendations would be discussed this week.

'I’d like to see a trial at junior levels,' New Zealand rugby’s senior scientist Ken Quarrie said. 'Already it’s [tackling] below the chest up to 12-year-olds in New Zealand and I don’t think it would be a major change to bring that down to the waist.'

Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images

Post by

Craig Lewis