Rugby’s tackle trial abandoned for putting players at greater risk

A RFU-led trial aimed at making rugby a safer sport has been abandoned because it was actually making the game more dangerous.

The initiative trialled in the new Championship Cup lowered the legal tackle height and it was hoped that the change would reduce the incidence of concussion and other serious injuries.

But an analysis of data after six rounds of matches, 36 in all, shows that while it has improved safety in one area, in another part of the game the players were more at risk of injury as a result of the new rule.


Only this month the RFU published figures from last season which showed the severity of injuries was on the increase. The most common was concussion, accounting for 20 per cent.

Interim RFU Chief Executive Nigel Melville said tonight “This was always a trial and we weren’t sure what the outcomes would be. Overall this has been an extremely valuable exercise. We’ve learnt a lot and tested an approach to reducing the risk of concussion in a real-life setting.”

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