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How sent off ex-Wallaby Coleman graduated from Irish tackle school

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

Trending on RugbyPass

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Ex-Wallabies lock Adam Coleman has successfully graduated from tackle school following his red card versus Saracens and is available for London Irish selection in this Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership derby away to Harlequins, the defending champions. The 30-year-old was sent off at the StoneX Arena on November 6 for making reckless contact with the head of Jackson Wray.


Coleman was handed a three-match ban but he was offered the chance to have the last game of that suspension scratched provided he agreed to attend tackle school at London Irish and have his work successfully assessed by World Rugby.

The Australian applied to do the work and has since been given the thumbs up by his tackle school assessors, putting him in the mix to feature at the Stoop. It has left Irish boss Declan Kidney welcoming the new initiative brought in last July by World Rugby that allows red-carded tacklers the opportunity to polish their technique and get the benefit of a week off their punishment. 

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“No player wants to go through it [a judicial hearing],” said Kidney when asked by RugbyPass how Coleman did at tackle school. “The whole process of the hearing is conducted well by PRL and the RFU, as it is around the world, but the fact there was this avenue was one that we discussed and we said yeah, we would take it because we think that will help to improve a player which is something they would have been doing anyway. 

“Everybody is working hard to avoid head injuries. Players, coaches, everybody knows it is something that we want to try and reduce from the game… What they have tried to do is encourage a way of practising because you can sap up your suspension and make no improvement but what they are doing is encouraging the improvement (with the tackle school initiative).

“The process you have to go through is showing the drills that you are practising, showing the conversation of what needs to be done, showing the consciousness of it and it’s a one-off. The club is using that card with Adam to reduce his suspension from three games to two and going forward the proof of it will be if it improves the good behaviour, not just of Adam but of everybody.”


So what exactly did tackle school mean for Coleman on the training ground at London Irish? “It involved showing drills that would improve technique and that will help Adam to avoid finding himself in the same situation again. Also part of that is a discussion and they all need to be filmed and recorded and passed into the IRB [World Rugby].

“The IRB will discuss whether we have taken suitable action to remedy the situation that occurred in the match. In all of these situations, they are never quite clear cut. When you slow them down there could be head contact made but it is the ball carrier steps into the tackler, is it the tackler steps into the ball carrier?

“The mischievous ones thankfully are down to five per cent, the accidental ones are still there and everyone is working hard to reduce those as well and a lot of what will reduce that is improved technique. Not so much consciousness, because everybody is actively very aware of it, so the technique is what you need to do. 

“There are still going to be times with the ball carrier, is he going to do a little bit of a goose step, is he going to push off his leg to push himself away from the tackler or to push himself into the tackler? That can create situations like occurred in this case (with Adam).”



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