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The major Six Nations concern for Wales and England ahead of World Cup 2023

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'It's happening': League boss sounds the alarm in response to Sonny Bill Williams

By Kim Ekin
(Photos by Bradley Kanaris/Steve Christo/Getty Images)

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs General Manager and renown Rugby League figure Phil Gould has joined the debate following developments in rugby union to lower tackling heights.


Gould, a prominent figure in the NRL for decades as a player, coach, media figure and executive, joined former All Black Sonny Bill Williams in questioning proposed changes to rugby union, with fears that the NRL and all collision sports would be ‘eradicated’.

Responding to a tweet by Williams which detailed the worst concussion of his career after going low against the Wallabies during a Test match in 2017 for the All Blacks, Gould sounded the alarm for collision sports that this essentially is the start of the end.

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“There is no logic. And the people making these decisions do not want to listen,” he wrote.

“Collision sports will no longer exist into the future. Doctors, lawyers, media, won’t let up until the collision sports are finally eradicated.

“I wrote this over a decade ago. It’s happening.”

In 2013 the then Penrith Panthers boss penned an opinion piece after the NRL’s ban on the shoulder charge tackle that Williams became a prominent exponent of during the 2000s era.


“I could tell you that players are the last ones complaining about shoulder charges or the risk of injury; but people won’t let you get away with such comments these days,” Gould wrote at the time.

“You cannot win an argument with those who sensationalise, exaggerate and take the moral high ground. Our world these days is becoming so paralysed with political correctness it makes me sick.”

“How can anyone think that sanitising a product built on all-out aggression will improve its appeal? This is poor analysis.”



Gould’s piece detailed his experiences playing rugby league back in the 70s and 80s where the game was much more violent than the modern day and how no amount of persuasion would convince players not to play despite the risks involved.

Williams has been vocal in sharing his views around how waist-and-below tackling would alter the sport, but did lobby for the removal of big shots where players shoot out of the line.

The former All Black believed the ‘reckless’ tackle was too dangerous and would make the game safer if totally removed from the game.

“The tackle I really think needs clamping down on is the reckless one where a player shoots out of the line to “put a shot on”,” he wrote.

“I used to do this a lot and I know how dangerous this can be… did someone say the Lions?!


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RUGBYPASS+ The major Six Nations concern for Wales and England ahead of RWC 2023 The major Six Nations concern for Wales and England ahead of RWC 2023