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Spear-tackling in rugby must be banned now

I READ with interest the 10 Lessons of the Rugby World Cup and, specifically, the lesson that the rule on spear-tackling is too black and white (Sport, October 24).

I'm afraid, professionally, I can not agree with this opinion. Spinal cord injury is a catastrophic complication which, thankfully, occurs rarely, but does occur.

Any tackle where the player lands on his head, neck or upper spine is dangerous and the International Rugby Board is absolutely correct to outlaw this. The sooner tackles of this nature are removed the better.

Without doubt, there was no intent in the tackle during the Welsh match, but intent cannot be a factor in determining whether this tackle is dangerous or not. This type of tackle should and is being outlawed, quite rightly.

A clear message needs to be sent out that this tackle will not be tolerated in the future and intent cannot be taken into account.

It is black and white - this tackle is dangerous and illegal.


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Consultant spinal surgeon, RVH