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Waist-high tackling has potential to be adopted for 2023 RWC

By Ian Cameron
Robbie Henshaw missed a huge chunk of the season after injuring his shoulder against Italy in the 2018 Six Nations. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

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World Rugby have said that a host of Law changes – including waist-high tackling – could be implemented as soon as the 2023 Rugby World Cup should their trials prove successful.

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World Rugby’s Executive Committee approved six law trial proposals submitted by unions and developed at the player welfare and laws symposium in Marcoussis, Paris, in March.

The most controversial of the proposals would see the tackle height reduced to the waist level, the rationale being it would force: “players to tackle lower may reduce the risk of head injuries to both the tackler and tackled player.”

The trials will be rolled out as designated closed trials in competitions around the world and if successful, would be recommended for global trial within the next Rugby World Cup cycle, meaning Rugby World Cup 2023 could be the first global showpiece to feature law amendments fully aimed at reducing injury risk.

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In a statement released this lunch-time, World Rugby said: “The core focus of the project is the tackle, which is responsible for 50 per cent of all match injuries and 76 per cent of all concussions (72 per cent occurring to the tackler).

“This is in part driven by an increase of ball in playtime by 50 per cent since Rugby World Cup 1987 to approximately 40 minutes today. This has given rise to a 252 per cent increase in tackles over the same period, which is why the group is focused on this facet of the game, identifying solutions to reduce the risk of high-risk situations.”

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Potential changes to tackle law at the community level in France were also approved for closed law trials following a detailed proposal by the FFR.

World Rugby say that a further announcement will be made on this.

Ireland captain Rory Best caught up with RugbyPass during his side’s pre World Cup training at the Sportsground in Connacht.

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