Former Scottish international Jim Hamilton believes new trial Laws being introduced into the tackle area could lead to more head injuries.
It was announced today that the RFU are to trial new armpit level tackling Laws in the RFU Championship, England’s second tier of professional rugby.
The premise behind the trial Law is to decrease the number of head-on-head injuries, and therefore reduce the number of concussive injuries suffered by players.
The new rule will now be implemented into all of the Championship’s games this season.
However Hamilton believes that the new tackle variation could potentially be more dangerous than the current Laws and that the game could see an increase in concussive injuries as a result.
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“Player safety needs to be at the forefront of organisers minds. By moving the tackle line lower this will means another tackle technique alteration that will need to be practiced,” the former Saracens lock told RugbyPass.
“Will this be done in live situations? If so, that means we need more live tackle training to perfect it. There is already way too much contact training in rugby.”
I disagree with lowering the tackle line in Rugby. How many players have we seen injured in a “seat belt tackle”??
Lowering the point of contact is going to force both the tackler and adjusting tackler to go alot lower. IMO. This is going to cause more head injuries as a result
— Jim Hamilton ? (@jimhamilton4) July 25, 2018
Hamilton also questions the very logic of getting players going lower into the tackle.
“It’s only the Championship that’s affected at the minute and we shouldn’t get carried away,” Hamilton told RugbyPass. “But from my experience of being in the tackle and watching players beside me being injured in the tackle, most if not all come from the head hitting something hard. A shoulder, knee, elbow or another head.”
“We now want both tacklers to go lower than ever. Every team will have a system of one high/one low tackle technique. One to stop the legs, the other to stop the ball and also gain dominance of the ball carrier.”
Hamilton, who won two European Cups with Saracens, says the volume of games professional players are required to play needs to be addressed if organisations are genuinely intent on minimising injury.
“I think more focus needs to go on the amount of games being played.”
Added to this, the 6’8, 120kg former lock believes the trial Laws could be a cheat’s charter.
“I have become frustrated with how soft the seat belt tackle has become. The way it’s been officiated but more so how some players react when they feel an arm around them. Players are playing for penalties which we have never seen in rugby until recently.”
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