England full-back Elliot Daly insists players must trust in their instincts rather than being influenced by the crackdown on dangerous tackles when making challenges. The World Cup produced its first red card after USA flanker John Quill was sent off for flattening Owen Farrell when striking the England captain on the jaw with a shoulder-led charge.
As a result of the incident, Quill received a three-week ban to lift the number of players suspended for dangerous tackles to four. England could incur the wrath of the disciplinary process themselves after Piers Francis was cited for clattering into Will Hooley in Thursday’s 45-7 victory over the USA.
World Rugby has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to high challenges in a drive to protect players from head injuries and have even gone as far as criticising the performance of its referees in Japan after Reece Hodge escaped a certain red card.
Daly, who started the Pool C wins against the USA and Tonga, insists the motivation when attempting a tackle must always be to ensure they are legal regardless of the game’s quest to reduce concussion. “The way it’s going now you can’t be thinking about tackles. You don’t mean to hit people there if you do hit them there,” Daly said.
“It hasn’t changed that much in my eyes – you want to make good tackles and that’s all you ever really want to do. Sometimes you slip up and you’ll get deemed high tackle now. You can’t really think about it, you’ve just got to do what you do and try to tackle properly.
(Continue reading below…)
“It’s safer for the game and any rule that comes in you have to abide by it and this one is for the safety of us and everyone around us. It’s just something you have got to be wary of, any rule that comes in, especially this one at the moment. But it doesn’t change things too much day to day.”
Following 48 hours off for the players, England swap Kobe for Tokyo on Sunday as they turn their attention towards the first of two pivotal Pool C matches after dispatching Tonga and the USA. The outcome against Argentina and France will shape the group’s final reckoning.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a pool of two halves but we are two games down and there’s a big break until the next game,” Daly said. “To get 10 points out of the first block was good and we’ll go into Argentina now raring to go. Argentina are going to come out very passionate, they always are. They’ve got a good record in the World Cup as well so we’ll be definitely wary of that.
“They have got a very good forward pack but some good backs as well. We’ve played against them a couple of times in the last couple of years so we’ll see if they are doing anything differently at the World Cup. But we’ll be focusing on ourselves mostly just to try to get our game up to where we want it to be.”
– Press Association
WATCH: The Rugby Pod can’t get over how good England’s Manu Tuilagi has been at this World Cup
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.