Tackling should be banned in school rugby games due to the risk of “serious injury” among under-18s, a group of more than 70 doctors and health experts have warned.
In an open letter to ministers, medical officers and children’s commissioners, doctors describe rugby as a “high-impact collision sport” and urged schools to switch to touch rugby and non-contact rugby.
They argue two-thirds of injuries in youth rugby and most concussions are down to tackles and force schools to move to touch and non-contact rugby.
Supporters say rugby builds character and other forms are less challenging.
The concerns have been raised as a seven-year programme headed by the Rugby Football Union is on target to introduce rugby to a million children in state schools across England.
The RFU’s programme, which began in 2012 and is running until 2019, has so far reached 400 schools, with 350 to follow.
Prof Allyson Pollock, of the Queen Mary University of London, was among those to sign the much-disputed letter.