Bristol Bears prop Max Lahiff has said that we must “make peace” or “get rid” of jackling, saying there is “no way you’re getting around making it safe”. This comes after a weekend of Guinness Six Nations rugby where jackling was in the spotlight for different reasons. 


Firstly, Sebastian Negri reignited the discussion around crocodile rolls after causing England flanker Jack Willis to suffer a devastating knee injury at Twickenham. Secondly, Zander Fagerson was shown a red card and subsequently given a four-match ban for a dangerous clear-out of Wyn Jones, who was over the ball at Murrayfield. 

It must be stressed that Bristol forward Lahiff was not addressing crocodile rolls and said that he supports banning what he called “the death roll” which has been the cause of so many knee and ankle injuries. But the 31-year-old provided a slightly more stark assessment on Twitter of the dangers of jackling. 

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Eddie Jones on Jack Willis’ injury and England’s win over Italy

In striving to make rugby safer, there has been a sharp rise in red cards in recent years for dangerous attempts to clear out the jackler. But jackling is an action that leaves a player extremely vulnerable, which is why Lahiff says it is “such a heroic skill”. 

As a consequence, it is hard to ever make it safe because it is so inherently dangerous and the cause of such a variety of injuries. 

Though he is not necessarily proposing banning jackling in rugby, plenty of people are endorsing returning to ‘old fashioned’ rucking, although that had its dangers as well. “If you jackal, you’re flirting with the reaper’s scythe (injury-wise),” he wrote on Twitter. 


“That’s why it’s such a heroic skill. No way you’re getting around making it ‘safe’. You’re bent over, focused on the ball and some savages are en route to decapitate your ass. Make peace with it. Or get rid of it.”

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