Premiership head coaches have voiced their concerns about the impending implementation of new tackle height regulations in community games.
Beginning in July, players will only be permitted to tackle from the waist down, according to the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Clubs in categories below the Premiership, Championship, and Premier 15s are subject to the rules.
George Skivington, head coach of Gloucester, told BBC Radio Gloucestershire, “I don’t think it’s wise.
If I’m being honest, I don’t believe it has been warmly received, and for good reason. That isn’t a workable approach, thus I believe some additional tweaks will be necessary.
“The tackle height might decrease, which might be a practical option; perhaps you go below the nipple or something similar. However, I believe that going below the waist like that is asking for disaster.
The RFU claimed that the adjustments were being made to increase player safety, particularly with regard to the problem of head injuries and concussions, which has been raised at all rugby levels.
The restrictions may make tackling safer overall, but there is doubt as to whether they will make it safer for the athlete doing the tackle.
According to Pat Lam, director of rugby at Bristol, “I think it could be considerably better for the ball carrier, maybe not necessarily for the tackler.”
“I comprehend the desire to increase game safety. The ability to alter something, see how it works, and then change it again if necessary to make it safer, in my opinion, is the key.
“I completely agree that we should make the game safer, but I’m not sure if this legislation change will make it safer for the tackler,” the commenter said.
The RFU did not contact clubs in the Premiership or the community organizations that will be impacted.
After the statement was not well received by individuals involved in the community game, the RFU later said that they will consult with clubs.
The topic will be brought up once more during the RFU council meeting on February 13.
Rob Baxter, the director of rugby for Exeter, told BBC Sport that “I think we need to know a lot more about the framework of what the rules will be around the ball carrier, what the rules will be around assist tacklers.”
Before we make too many assumptions about how it would fit the community game, there is a great deal more that we need to know about the background.
Don’t let rugby lose its soul.
The Premiership will still be impacted by the restrictions when it comes to signing young players and those who have dual registration agreements with other teams, according to Baxter, even if the rules will not be implemented at the highest level of rugby.
Will it have an impact on how we use loan clubs and develop players before they enter the professional environment? Of course it will, since we have to make every effort to be as ready as we can be, said Baxter.
“We will evaluate that very closely once we have the whole description of all the laws and regulations, and what’s going around it.”
The impact of the modifications on the rugby spirit was Johann van Graan, head of rugby at Bath, major worry.
He emphasized once more the need of including all parties in the decision-making process.
Van Graan told BBC Radio Bristol, “The essential issue from my side is we’ve got to make sure we don’t lose the core of our game.
“It’s a game for people of all sizes and shapes, and the way it’s played is why we coach it, watch it, and play it. We also need to take care to maintain the integrity of the game.
“Yes, make it safer, but this is collision sport. Get everyone involved and do what is best for the game; we must ensure that the game is taken care of.