'As soon as we talk about getting rid of head injuries completely I think the sport will struggle'
Back-up England scrum-half Dan Robson has urged caution amid suggestions that rugby needs to change in order to combat the level of head injuries being experienced in the game. Last weekend’s Guinness Six Nations round two games witnessed numerous players departing to the sidelines for head injury assessments.
The action was then followed by the high profile midweek launch of Progressive Rugby, a lobby group spearheaded by ex-England flanker James Haskell.
They have written to World Rugby calling for contact training to be limited, an upper-level tackle height review, a reduction in the number of replacements, a limit on the number of games a Test player can annually play in, and an increase in the minimum concussion rest period to three weeks.
It has all very much placed the issue of head injuries under the spotlight again but Robson, the 28-year-old Wasps half-back who has eight England caps, fears too much change could potentially ruin rugby as a sport.
Speaking on Friday after England had reassembled at their team base in London ahead of the February 27 round three Six Nations game away to Wales, Robson said: “We understand as players it is part and parcel of the game these injuries, especially these head injuries.
It hasn't taken long for the governing body to say its piece in the wake of ex-England forward Haskell generating headlines with his new Progressive Rugby lobby grouphttps://t.co/EssLghCs4L
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“It’s a contact sport, it’s going to happen. Unfortunately, as much as we try and manufacture as many situations that it doesn’t happen it’s still going to happen. As long as the players are on the same wavelength and understand that and it’s as safe as possible when we are going into games with tackle technique or whatever it may be, then we can reduce that as much as possible but it is never going to be kind of gone from the sport totally in my opinion.
“As soon as we talk about getting rid of head injuries completely I think the sport will struggle because you’re looking at a totally different aspect of this sport in general without any kind of contact.
“It’s a difficult conversation I understand at the minute but for us, as players, we have just got to do everything we can to ensure we are as safe as possible going out on the field and really put what we are doing in the week to fruition at the weekend.”
Robson went on to voice his concerns about the suggested reduction in contact training done during the week. “It’s tough, isn’t it? You can definitely go that way and then more injuries happen because the body is not used to the contacts as much.
“You can’t just have that weekend to be a shock to the system with guys running at you and you putting your body on the line. There has got to be a middle line and from my time in rugby, clubs have definitely got better at that.
“Certainly with Wasps the contact we do is a lot more controlled stuff, technique work-based. There is obviously positives and negatives to both sides and I don’t think it will be as easy as saying right, no contact in training and crack on.”
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