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RFU tackling concussion and injury problems with new initiative


By Andrew Baldock

A Rugby Football Union-led tackle trial next season has been described as "critical" in terms of developing approaches to concussion and injury reduction.

The trial will take place in the 43-match Championship Cup competition - English rugby's second tier - and represents a a major player safety initiative.

Details announced by the RFU see the definition of a high tackle lowered from above the line of the shoulders to above the armpit line.

RFU professional rugby director Nigel Melville said: "The Championship Cup provides an opportunity for us to assess the impact of lowering the height of the tackle on the elite adult game, and will be a critical part of helping us develop game-wide approaches to concussion and injury reduction."

The move has been made in collaboration with World Rugby and will see an amendment to law 9.13 operating in the cup competition, which starts on November 10.

In a statement, the RFU said: "The trial aims to assess the impact of introducing a lower tackle height in elite adult rugby on the incidence of concussion and other injuries, player behaviour in the tackle, the nature of tackles, head injury events and other game events.

"This important player welfare initiative will include all games in the pool stages and play-off rounds of the competition.

"A detailed analysis of this trial will be compared to existing data from the English professional game to help inform any wider approach. All data will be shared with World Rugby to be added to research collected from a similar trial in the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy."

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