Debate rages over England hooker's tackle technique after viral video
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.
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.
— Andrew Forde (@andrewfrugby) February 21, 2022
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’.
But it is illegal – first five tackles in your clip anyway. Throwing yourself at ball carrier’s knees/shins with no “attempt to grasp” is dangerous play (Law 9.11) and contravenes Law 9.16.
Very rarely penalised, but it should be. Lavanini got done for it a few years ago.
— Mike Stroud (@StroudMarketing) February 21, 2022
There is deliberately a degree of subjectivity to dangerous tackle assessments. Just because you throw your arms around the knee area doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous to target the knee. IMHO this is dangerous and I’m surprised referees don’t penalise it.
— Aaron Lloyd (@AaronLloydNZL) February 21, 2022
He has been doing it a long time. Extraordinary that coaches and/or referees have not put him straight. Someone needs to. Has already knocked himself senseless just before Lions tour but still no change. Beggars belief
— Benjamin Hughes (@BenjaminMHughes) February 21, 2022
He doesn't wrap at the pint of tackle at all he mainly dives his shoulder and neck into the shin/knee and if he mistime he is going to be out cold, if they plant their leg he is going to snap it.
— Ed Crick (@edcrick) February 21, 2022
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’.
It’s legal though has been around for years
— afc berry (@JacobPetherton) February 21, 2022
Legit question here: why is it illegal? He almost always wraps, and if he tackles exactly the same but on the waist, i’m sure no one will care. Is there a “too low” tackle?
— HJK (@HJK87SA) February 21, 2022
That’s a great chop tackle. Literally what players are told to do. If you don’t like players tackling low away and watch rugby league or some touch rugby ridiculous statement.
— Corey Davey (@CoreyDavey15) February 21, 2022
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.
Kind of similar to Lydiate in his prime from 2012 with his chop tackle technique. But I feel Lydiate had more control with his technique when wrapping his arms around the opponents legs. Luke doesn't seem to do the wrap.
— Welsh Ferrari (@ForzaFe57324743) February 21, 2022
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.
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