STATEMENT: RFU confirm new lower tackle height - Ruck

STATEMENT: RFU confirm new lower tackle height

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced that starting from next season, the legal height for tackles in community rugby will be lowered from below the shoulders to the “base of the sternum”.

This decision comes after a previous announcement in January that the tackle height would be from the “waist” down, which caused a significant uproar in the rugby community.

The RFU has since conducted extensive consultations, canvassing the views of 8,500 people on how to word the law change. RFU President Nigel Gillingham expressed his gratitude to those who contributed to the consultation, saying, "I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this consultation and to say thank you in advance to the wider rugby family who will be vital to ensuring we implement this change successfully."

Gillingham emphasized that the decision to lower the tackle height was made to reduce the risk of concussion, stating, "We, along with many other unions across the world, are lowering the tackle height to reduce the risk of concussion."

The new law will take effect from 1 July, and the RFU is committed to ensuring a successful implementation of this change. "We have undertaken extensive consultation to listen to feedback on how to best define and implement the law variations," said the RFU.

The previous attempt by the RFU to force through the law change earlier this year was deemed unsuccessful. However, the RFU is optimistic that with the input of the rugby community, this new law change will be implemented smoothly.

Lowering the tackle height has become a major issue in rugby as concern grows over the risk of head injuries, particularly concussions. The RFU's decision to lower the legal tackle height is in line with similar moves made by other rugby unions around the world to protect players from the dangers of the sport.


One fan wrote: "That's probably 1000s of older forwards now quitting the game. I feel abit higher would have been fine. Say nipple area. This will be fine for younger players but the senior game is going to be affected massively."

A second commented: "This has come out exactly as I feared during the consultation and this confirms the end of my playing career."

Another added: "Killed the game. We've struggled to put out a 3XV this season, we usually play against 2nd teams and a lot of them have struggled too. Clubs won't exist with just a 1st XV"

"So are the RFU stating that it is safe for hip to head vice versa in the Green tackle area. As shown in the tweet picture??."commented a fourth.

Another said: "Anyone want a pair of rugby boots, 9.5, great condition? Kit bag and other odds and sods available too. No longer needed."

“Fan-centric innovations” – World Rugby set to introduce law changes for 2023 Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup of 2023 could potentially see the implementation of various law modifications that have undergone trial periods during the 2023 Super Rugby season.

Time restrictions on goal kicks, set pieces and, rucks and a streamlined TMO process are among a raft of fan-centric law innovations set to make the World Cup faster and more fluid than ever before. 

Referees will enforce 90 seconds time limits on conversions, 60 seconds for penalty kicks, 30 seconds for scrums and lineouts to be set, and 5 seconds for the ball to be used at rucks, while TMOs will only interrupt play for serious, clear and obvious incidents of foul play.

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