Home Sports Rugby “lowers” tackles to protect players. But it risks being distorted

Rugby “lowers” tackles to protect players. But it risks being distorted

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Rugby “lowers” tackles to protect players.  But it risks being distorted

Rugby is renewed, rugby changes. Or is rugby destined to die?
The decision of the RFU, the English federation, to change the rule for the tackle next year – the most characteristic action, the one that identifies the soul of the sport – by banning it above the pelvis (today it is allowed up to the shoulders) is causing controversy to no end. Also because World Rugby, the international federation, has already made it known unofficially that it intends to adapt to a trend that would have major consequences on the dynamics of the game, clearly favoring the attacker.
Now, the world of rugby is rightly concerned by the increasingly frequent cases of dementia praecox affecting ex-athletes or even active athletes. In American football, head traumas have silently claimed victims for decades, now in addition to the many personal dramas finally made public, lawsuits and requests for reimbursement are flocking, but even in the old oval ball for years it has been preferred to ignore the problem. Since the game has become increasingly violent and fast, played by increasingly muscular and powerful athletes, and with a very busy calendar of events, the question has arisen, however, in all its clarity. After all, World Rugby has repeatedly attempted to adapt the rules to ensure that the area of ​​the head and neck, let’s say from the shoulders up, is protected.
“The issue of trauma needs to be addressed,” replies Neil Back, the former English back row who in 2003 won the world cup alongside Jonny Wilkinson. «But rugby remains a contact sport, and it is not certain that the traumas derive only from head-to-head contact. You can tackle at the level of the pelvis or the chest, and the movement of the head can cause the trauma». The same concept expressed by Michele Lamaro, Italy’s captain, in the press conference for the launch of the Six Nations: “If I tackle ‘low’ I can end up hitting my opponent’s head with my knee or legs, and this is just as dangerous”. In short, there is the risk of distorting the game without obtaining great benefits for the health of those on the pitch.
«When I was playing – continued Back – I often went ‘high’ because someone had already made a low tackle. And if the runner-up is penalized while trying to win the ball, then the game is dead. They’re trying to explain that the ball carrier can’t duck before the tackle, but that’s something any rugby player does automatically. No one faces a tackle standing straight. And that’s a problem.” Personal safety or sporting integrity? Rugby is at a crossroads again.

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