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Debate rages over England hooker's tackle technique after viral video

By Sam Smith
(Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

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England’s hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie’s tackle technique has been put under the spotlight after a fan compilation video of his continual grass-cutter tackles has gone viral.

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Cowan-Dickie is seen chopping players low at all levels, from club fixtures to international with England and the British & Irish Lions. The hooker dives at an opposing players legs which sees both players fall at awkward angles.

Rarely does Cowan-Dickie secure a wrap around the player’s legs, instead barrelling through them like a missile which could cause a serious knee injury while putting himself at risk of head injury.

The legality of Cowan-Dickie’s technique was hotly debated by fans, with the contentious issue around the ‘attempt to grasp’ which many felt was either late or non-existent by the Exeter Chief.

Without an appropriate attempt to grasp, the tackles should be penalised under dangerous play many argued. Another stated it was ‘extraordinary’ that coaches and referees ‘have not put him straight’.

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Just as many were prepared to defend the chop tackles as legal, asking ‘is there “too low” a tackle?’ while one fan said this is ‘literally what players are told to do’.

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Others compared the tackle technique to former Welsh forward Dan Lydiate, who ‘made a living out of these’. The Ospreys forward was famed for his chop tackle technique and was sinbinned on occasion for a questionable wrap.

The tackle technique has already backfired once for Cowan-Dickie who was forced from the Premiership final against Harlequins on a stretcher with concussion after attempting it on No. 8 Alex Dombrandt.

There were fears that he would miss the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa after the heavy knock.

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