The Rugby Football Union issued an apology for how it handled its decision to introduce new tackle height regulations in the English community game.
The RFU declared last week that starting in July, the allowable tackle height will be decreased to the waist.
However, the move has drawn condemnation from some clubs, athletes, and coaches.
The RFU apologized in a statement for the “anger and concern” that it had caused.
The new rules would be implemented at all levels outside of the professional game.
The improvements, according to the governing body of English rugby, would increase player safety, especially with regard to the problem of head injuries and concussions, which has been a concern at all levels of rugby.
Those opposed to the modifications believed they wouldn’t work and expressed concern about a major exodus of athletes from the sport.
Ben Youngs claims that after tackle height adjustments, rugby union has “risks” and “rewards.”
Concerns regarding the RFU’s tackle changes in the neighborhood game are voiced by Rory Best and Tommy Bowe.
The RFU added in a statement issued on Friday in response to the criticism: “In our rush to minimize head impacts and concussions in the community game, which accounts for 99% of rugby players in England, we have upset many of you who are the champions, volunteers, and ambassadors of our game.
We sincerely apologize and completely realize that the engagement was a mistake.
The RFU has announced that it will immediately start a process of consultation with players, coaches, and match officials to determine how to reduce the danger of brain injuries in sports as effectively as possible.
The RFU continued, “When making our choice, we were aware that France had dropped the tackle height, New Zealand will do the same, and World Rugby endorses this approach.
“We used the phrase “waist and below,” much like the French did; this has led to misunderstanding and confusion.
“Now that we know what the study is telling us, we want the game to help us define how we express a lower tackle height in a way that everyone can understand.
“Therefore, tackling below that ideal height should lessen the danger of head injuries. To clarify and refine the specifics of the domestic law variation, we will now start a series of seminars and workshops with players, coaches, match officials, and volunteers.
“A sad episode,” according to Chris Jones, a BBC Rugby Union Correspondent:
The proposed new tackle height and the lack of consultation with the thousands of players, coaches, and referees who make up the game in England below the elite level were two of the many complaints leveled at the announcement last week, which was met with confusion and anger by a large portion of the community game.
The RFU has since reversed course on both counts, apologizing for the lack of interaction with grassroots organizations and committing to now collaborate with community games to determine the ideal tackle height.
With 250 former professional players suing the regulatory organizations, rugby union is facing something of a safety crisis, particularly with relation to concussions.
Furthermore, any effort to lessen head collisions must be regarded seriously, even though amateur players may feel, with good cause, that the problems are more pronounced at the top level of the game.
However, this has been a regrettable incident that has strained relations between the union and the member clubs it is supposed to represent.