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Beaumont: Injury prevention's our focus

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World Rugby plan meeting to tackle safety concerns

Global rugby chiefs will meet next week to thrash out ways to alter the game’s laws to improve player safety. Governing body World Rugby will host a three-day summit in Paris to plot possible rule changes for the four years following World Cup 2019.

Lowering the tackle height will be on the agenda, as the March 18-20 meetings look to aid the sport’s “quest for attractiveness and simplicity”. England’s Championship Cup trialled a lower tackle height earlier this season, but that venture was halted due to an unexpected rise in concussion risk.

“Since being elected in 2016, I have been unwavering in my commitment to ensure that the sport is as simple, safe and fun to play as possible,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont. “Strong progress has been made in the stabilisation of injury rates, particularly the incidence of serious injury.

“These advances can be attributed to an evidence-based injury management approach in the form of scrum law change, the introduction of tournament player welfare standards, the implementation of the Head Injury Assessment process, the clamp-down on dangerous tackles and attitudinal changes towards concussion.

“However, we must and do strive to do more. With the foundations of good player welfare injury management processes in place, we are now firmly focused on injury-prevention.

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“With a new four-year law review cycle beginning it is appropriate that we address the big questions – how to ensure the sport is as safe as possible while ensuring the game continues to attract a new generation of rugby fans and participants.

“I would like to thank the rugby family for their full commitment and look forward to constructive and productive discussion in our drive to make our sport the best it can be for players and fans.”

The Shaping A Safer Game symposium will convene leading experts across all fields of rugby, hosted by the French Rugby Federation (FFR).

“The safety of players is the priority for all of us and this meeting of leading experts to examine and further our injury-prevention strategies reflects our collective and unwavering commitment,” said FFR president Bernard Laporte.

“The FFR is honoured to welcome area experts who will exchange and debate on rugby, its evolution, its rules and the way the practice must evolve. This is an important meeting for the future of our sport.”

Press Association

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World Rugby plan meeting to tackle safety concerns