World Rugby Set To Follow England To Lower Tackle Height, However …..


World Rugby reportedly intends to lower the legal tackling height at the elite level worldwide in the coming years to reduce the risk of head injuries in the sport, the governing body’s chief executive Alan Gilpin said.

Gilpin's comments follow the decision by England's Rugby Football Union to ban tackling above the waist in the community game. The RFU’s decision to ban tackling above the waistline in the community game in England provoked outrage but Gilpin gave it a ringing endorsement and said other countries were set to follow suit.

The England RFU's decision has been widely criticised by several clubs, players, coaches and officials in the country, while CEO Bill Sweeney reportedly faces a vote of no confidence from 208 clubs for the radical call.

Gilpil also confirmed World Rugby was planning to stage a global law trial from 01 January 2024, initially at the amateur level, with a decision yet to be made over whether that would involve a prohibition on tackles above the waist or the sternum.

“The key message is let’s get the tackle height lower at every level of the game because that will reduce the number of head injuries that we see in rugby,” he added.

"There's a lot of work to do to educate people. But we've got to, as a sport, try to find that really difficult but hugely-important balance between safety and making the game entertaining to watch."

"We need to get players tackling lower at every part of the game ... How that's to be implemented is slightly different in the community game to the elite game."

Gilpin indicated the tackle height in the professional game, currently set at shoulder level, would not be lowered as far as the waist but said research showed change was needed.

In an exclusive interview with Telegraph Sport, he also said the “likelihood” was that the legal tackle height in the international and professional club game, which currently lies at shoulder level, would not be lowered as far as the waist.

Unlike the England RFU law change, which takes effect from next season, any change to the legal tackle height at the top end of the sport would not be any earlier than the 2024-25 season and may not even be in place until after the 2027 World Cup.