Australian rugby to trial lower tackle height to reduce concussions

Rugby Australia said Friday it will trial a lowering of the legal tackle height from the shoulder line to below the sternum in a bid to reduce concussions.

The new measure will take effect from February for two years at all levels of the game below Super Rugby, following six years of research by World Rugby.

Trials of lower tackle heights have already taken place in France, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Preliminary data in South Africa showed a 30 percent reduction in concussions while France recorded 64 percent fewer head-on-head contacts, Rugby Australia said.

Phil Waugh, the governing body’s chief executive, said the extensive research by World Rugby showed a clear opportunity to make the game safer.

“Obviously it is impossible to remove all risk from the game,” he said. “However, we firmly believe that promoting safer tackle techniques and reducing the risk of head contact and concussion will lead to an even safer game.”

The decision was made after consultation with member unions, coaches, match officials and medical professionals.

© 2023 AFP