RFU apologise for ‘anger and concern’ caused by tackle height decision


The English RFU have apologised for the “anger and concern” that has been created by the decision to lower the permitted tackle height in amateur rugby.

At all levels of rugby in England below the Premiership and Championship, players must tackle at waist-height or lower from July 1st this year.

The decision has prompted plenty of backlash, as an online petition asking for the decision to be reversed has been signed by more than 75,000 people, while it has been reported that 200 clubs are considering a motion of no confidence in the RFU.

In a new statement the RFU have apologised for how it handled the announcement, but did not say that the decision would be reversed.

RFU statement on backlash to new tackle height rule.

“The RFU Board, Council and executive staff apologise for the anger and concern that has been created among the rugby community by announcing the decision to lower the tackle height from next season,” the statement reads.

“In making our decision we were aware that France have lowered the tackle height, New Zealand will be doing so and World Rugby supports this approach.

“We, like the French, used the term “waist and below”; this has caused misunderstanding and confusion.

“We would now like the game to help us define how we describe a lower tackle height to reflect what the research is telling us in a way that is understood by all. Consequently, the risk of head injuries should be reduced if tackling below that optimum height.

“We will now begin a series of forums and workshops with players, coaches, match officials and volunteers, to explain and develop the details of the domestic law variation.”

Disagreement over what is defined as ‘waist and below’.

There has been confusion over what exactly “waist and below” entails, as some believe that tackles will only be allowed on the hips or lower, while others have argued that tackles will be allowed just below the ribcage.

It appears as though the RFU are also unsure of exactly what waist-height is, having asked for help in defining how to describe the lower tackle height that will be implemented in amateur rugby thus year.

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