From next season, tackling above the waist will be banned at community rugby matches to «reduce exposure to head impact and risk of concussion,» the Rugby Football Union said on Thursday ( RFU).
The RFU added that ball carriers would be encouraged to «follow the evasive principle» and avoid «late dives».
«Designed to improve player safety and informed by data, this change aims to reduce head impact exposure and concussion risk at tackle for both ball carrier and tackler,» he said. the governing body in a statement.
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«Evidence from studies has consistently shown that greater contact with the ball carrier and closer proximity between the ball carrier and tacklers’ heads are associated with larger head impacts (as measured with smart mouth guards). ) and an increased risk of concussion.
«Lowering the height of the tackle and encouraging the tackler to bend more at the waist will minimize the risk of this occurring while keeping the tackle an integral part of the game.»
The RFU said the changes would be enacted from July 1 and would apply to community play at clubs, schools, colleges and universities, as well as National One and below in men’s play and Championship One and below for women.
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«Player welfare must always be at the heart of the decisions we make about how we play rugby,» said RFU chairman Nigel Gillingham.
«…the RFU will continue its work to reduce head impacts in contact training both in community and elite games and will support any law changes World Rugby proposes for matches at elite level that will further reduce exposure to head impacts.»
More than 55 amateur rugby players sent a claim letter to World Rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the RFU on Thursday to start the pre-action phase of their lawsuit over possible brain injuries.
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The players allege that rugby’s governing bodies negligently failed to protect them from concussion and non-concussion injuries that caused various neurological disorders, including early-onset dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and motor neuron disease.
A group of former professional players filed a similar lawsuit against those rugby bodies and the Rugby Football League in July last year.