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Ryan's clean-up the game plea

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Ben Ryan makes final plea to World Rugby for radical law change

Olympic Sevens gold-winning coach Ben Ryan has made a final plea on Twitter for a change to rucking laws ahead of the World Rugby Law Review Group meeting in London on Thursday and Friday. 

A number of laws will be discussed, such as the reduction of the number of substitutes in a game and the potential introduction of a 50/22, which is similar to rugby league’s 40/20 kick. 

However, Ryan and many other former players have been strong advocates in the ending of jackalling in rucks in favour of the former technique of driving over the tackled player. 

Ryan shared a video of a gruesome injury that came from a player being cleared out in a ruck while jackalling, saying he hopes “we don’t see any more incidents like this in the future”.

There is a number of reasons why some feel that jackalling should be outlawed from the game, primarily based on the injuries that it creates.

Not only does the positioning leave a player’s head exposed and vulnerable to the opposing player, who can effectively sprint into the jackaller to clear him out, but any entry to the ruck can cause calamitous injuries to knees and ankles of the player over the ball. 

A knee injury like this was shared by Ryan, but it has happened to a number of players. An example this season past was Leinster and Ireland’s Dan Leavy, who suffered an ACL injury that has ruled him out of the World Cup. 

Indeed, some feel Sam Warburton’s gung ho attitude at the breakdown contributed to his career being cut short. There does not necessarily need to be any malice from the opposing player, it is just the nature of clearing out a player that is in such an unprotected position. 

Of course, there is no way that World Rugby can ever make rugby completely safe, and jackalling is a part of the game by which some of the best players in the world have made their names such as David Pocock. 

These factors will surely be taken into account by the Law Review Group. However, it is also a priority to make rugby as safe as it can be, and Ryan, who earlier this month laughed off rumours that he had died, is one that believes the game will benefit from doing away with a faction of it which causes so many injuries.

Outside of the injuries created, many have argued that outlawing jackalling will improve the game. While the likes of Richie McCaw and Pocock were famed for their ability to clamp onto the ball at the ruck, there is a case that it stultifies the flow of the game and slows it down. 

By forcing players to drive over the tackled player, the belief is that it will not only speed up the game, but it will actually force more players to commit to the ruck, and in doing so create more space. 

There are those that feel rugby is calling out for a return of the traditional form of rucking, while there are equally those that feel jackalling is firmly entrenched in the game that it cannot be changed now. But ultimately, player safety must be paramount in this situation.  

WATCH: Episode one of The Academy, the six-part RugbyPass documentary series looking at how Leicester Tigers develop their players

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Ben Ryan makes final plea to World Rugby for radical law change