Rugby Union

A recent report has outlined that the number of concussion injuries remains high..

World Rugby have been asked to make big rule change for players' safety

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Following an in-depth report into the relation of high tackles leading to concussion, World Rugby have been asked to ammend the legal height of tackles.

The current rules define a high tackle as one which - whether successful or unsuccesful - begins or finishes above the line of the shoulders.

World Rugby embarked on an initiative in January 2017 to increase punishments on dangerous tackles and take a zero tolerance approach to head tackles, but the most recent report suggests that this initiative has failed to affect the percentage of concussional injuries.

However, a report written by the Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project, the Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby, and the Rugby Players' Association stated that head injuries were the most common form of injury, contributing 22% to the total of all injuries suffered.

Dr Simon Kemp, RFU medical services directory, stated: "We would like World Rugby to give consideration to thinking about reducing the legal height for the tackle.

"There's very little margins for error with the permitted height of the tackle at the line of the shoulders.

"It's for World Rugby to consider and we know they're doing that at the moment."

RFU professional rugby director Nigel Melville said: "It's become a bit of a grey area at times.

"What we're looking for is consistentcy across the refereeing. It's challenging for World Rugby, with referees coming from different hemispheres, from different competitions and you get a lack of consistency.

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"That's difficult for fans and people watching to know what's right and what's wrong."

The report, released on Monday, outlined that the number of concussion cases which led to absences of over three-months had increased. Meanwhile, hamstring injuries, concussion, and anterior cruciate ligament knee injuries were the top three match injuries resulting in absences of over 84 days.

The 2016-17 Premiership season saw 169 concussions reported, of which 22 players suffered it on more than one occasion - one player suffered four times and one player three.

Running alongside the publication of the report, an eight-point Professional Game Action Plan was announced. As well as addressing the legal height of tackles, this will research the impact of player load, training injury risk and the impact of artificial grass pitches.

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