"Anger and concern" - World Rugby confirm tackle height law change in statement - Ruck

“Anger and concern” – World Rugby confirm tackle height law change in statement

World Rugby has unanimously approved a proposal recommending that unions participate in trials of “belly tackles” at the community level of the game in order to reduce the occurrence of concussions.

A belly tackle refers to a tackle made below the sternum, specifically at the mid-chest level. By implementing an opt-in trial, the objective is to enhance player safety by minimizing head-on collisions. The outcomes of these trials will be thoroughly assessed and reviewed in early 2025.

Sir Bill Beaumont, the chairman of World Rugby, stated, “We expect that the trial period will require some time to establish itself. However, throughout this process, our decision-making has been guided by scientific insights to create a safer environment for our players, and the evidence supporting this initiative is clear and undeniable.”

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) of England expressed regret for any distress or worry caused by the way the decision regarding tackle height was handled. The recommendation, initially proposed by the RFU’s executive board in March, was approved by the governing body’s council.

The trial primarily pertains to the community game, encompassing clubs, schools, colleges, and universities. Similar trials are already underway in France and New Zealand.


Starting in July, the RFU will enforce a rule in the community game that restricts players to tackling below the waist. This ruling will affect age-grade and adult levels, encompassing National One and lower divisions in men’s rugby, as well as Championship One and lower divisions in women’s rugby.

Under the new trial, member nations will have the freedom to establish a legal tackle height below the base of the sternum, tailoring it to suit the requirements of their respective community games. Additionally, they can implement secondary regulations concerning related aspects of the game, such as pick and go, double tacklers, and ball carriers dipping into contact.

World Rugby has also clarified that if any union or competition wishes to conduct closed trials at the elite level, they will offer support and assistance in facilitating such trials upon receiving requests from their members.

“5 changes” – World Rugby set to confirm new laws for 2023 Rugby World Cup

The Webb Ellis Cup – Photo mandatory by-line: Gareth Davies/Pinnacle – Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 – Mobile:0797 1270 681 – VAT Reg No: 183700120 – 31/10/2015 – SPORT – RUGBY UNION – RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015 FINAL – New Zealand v Australia – Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London, England.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup may introduce new rule modifications that have been tested during the 2023 Super Rugby season.

These changes are focused on improving the pace and flow of the game, and include time restrictions on certain actions like goal kicks, set pieces, and rucks.

Additionally, a more streamlined TMO process will be implemented, only intervening in clear instances of foul play.

Referees will enforce specific time limits for each action, such as 90 seconds for conversions, 60 seconds for penalty kicks, 30 seconds for scrums and lineouts, and 5 seconds for the ball to be used at rucks. T

hese fan-centric law innovations are aimed at making the Rugby World Cup faster and more fluid than ever before.

The key changes are summarised in bullet points below: 

  • The referee will put a stopwatch shot clock on kickers who will have 90 seconds to kick a conversion from the time a try is awarded, and 60 seconds for penalties, from the time the referee signals a shot at goal. 
  • Match officials will expect lineouts and scrums to be formed within 30 seconds of the respective marks being set, and the ball to be used within 5 seconds of a ruck being formed. 
Scrum down for Kyle Sinckler of England Rugby during the Six Nations Championship match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on March 13 2021. – PHOTO: Micah Crook/PPAUK