With the Six Nations set to begin in a little under two weeks, coaches and players have met with the media and discussed the new tackle laws.
Rory Best told ESPN Scrum‘s Tom Hamilton how he believes the new tackle laws will impact on the matches during the Six Nations.
Best stated that it has always been in the laws of the game that tackles must be made below the level of the neck and that a player’s intentions have always been taken into consideration by the referee when adjudicating on foul play.
So, what has changed then? Well, now the level of scrutiny by officials on the pitch and in the video booth has been raised a few levels as the powers that be look to eject high tackles from the game completely.
As the dust settles on the first few weeks of these new laws being part of the game in the Aviva Premiership it is clear that training methods need to be changed to move along with the changing laws. One team that has been using the ‘chop’ tackle to good effect for a while now is Bath.
Bath specifically train to have one player going low around the kneecaps of the oncoming ball carrier and another players comes in around the waist or just above to bring the player to the ground, this makes for a speedy take down and ideally allows the second player to jump to their feet and win the ball back.
Eddie Jones was also questioned by Hamilton about the new laws, and how they would impact the game.
“You put speed cameras in and what happens, you get hundreds of people getting a fine, twelve months later those fines have decreased,” Jones said.
“It will be the same with this tackle situation.
“In the next three months there’s going to be a proliferation of yellow and red cards until players learn to drive safely and be within the speed limit. We’ll get there and when that happens, like most of the roads, then it becomes a safer place to play rugby and that’s what we want.”
The Welsh rugby team have drafted in Nigel Owens, believed by many rugby players and fans to be the best referee currently in the game, to come and present to the squad the finer points of the new tackle laws.
Owens will be able to describe to the team the different situations that may arise and how they will be interpreted by the referees under the new laws.
The Welsh coaches will be hoping that this leads to the team not being penalised for illegal challenges or tackles that leave their team with a player down.
Wales interim boss Rob Howley stated that:
“We don’t want Six Nations games turned on red cards and it’s the empathy of interpretation in the contacts which will be a key determining factor in whether they are yellow or red,” Howley said.
“When laws change there will be a period of time – I wouldn’t like to think red cards will be a determinant of who is going to win the Six Nations Championship.”
As the new laws are put in place there are always going to be issues and we can assume that we will see a number of cards in the first few weekends.
How these cards impact the game, we will have to wait and see.
Dan Higgins, Pundit Arena