You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

High tackle law gets NZ Rugby thumbs up

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/12/2016 Daniel Gilhooly
World Rugby redefined the law on illegal tackles and increasing sanctions to reduce the risk of injury. © Andrew Redington/Getty Images World Rugby redefined the law on illegal tackles and increasing sanctions to reduce the risk of injury.

The strict new law around head high tackles has been welcomed by New Zealand Rugby, with players on notice to be careful in collisions.

World Rugby last week unveiled a global edict, redefining the law on illegal tackles and increasing sanctions to reduce the risk of injury.

The move was met with criticism by some, who believed the change was excessive, would change the nature of rugby and be complicated to police.

A tackle will be deemed reckless "if the tackler knew or should have known there was a risk of making contact with the head". It applies even if a tackle starts below the shoulders.

The minimum sanction will be a yellow card.

Harlequins defence coach and former England No.8 Nick Easter tweeted "Goodbye to the game as we know it", believing players will be encouraged to dive to draw a penalty.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew says the impact of the law can't be assessed until it is introduced next year.

However, he is fully supportive of change.

"We're all very aware that concussion, and the complications that go with that, is a big issue for our game," he said.

"It's hard to argue with any move to ensure less people are injured at the tackle but most importantly, receiving concussions."

Tew says the latest analysis shows 70 per cent of significant injuries happen in the tackle and that the head is often vulnerable.

The initial feedback from coaches has been positive and he expects to see a difference on the field.

"Players are going to have to be very careful with their tackle technique. Not a bad thing."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon