By Lucky Maree
If proof was needed that the people in charge of rugby are a bunch of dictatorial, ageing men in grey suits, this is now confirmed.
Millions of rugby lovers believe the recently announced tackle rule will change the way the game is played and will have a disastrously negative effect on rugby.
The rule indicates that a tackle higher than the waist, will be deemed illegal. The rule, imposed by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in England, comes into effect on 1 July. The new law is aimed to reduce head injuries.
It will apply to amateur rugby in England and will be introduced to professional levels in due course. What it means is the tackle must be below the belly-button instead of lower than shoulder level.
There is a suggestion that the tackle height should be lowered to below the nipples, but at the moment jokes are sinking that notion. “Some players have tits that sag below the elastic on the pants. Where will you tackle them?” quipped a YouTube commentator.
In a poll taken in England, it took but one day for more than 500,000 people to register their dismay.
It appears that fans have two (and only two) opinions about the new rule: some say it’s bad, others say it’s absolute nonsense. Nobody thinks it’s a good idea.
Even Nigel Owens, the retired Welsh referee who walks on water as a rugby guru, has expressed his concerns.
“There are many questions by players, ex-players and officials and everybody involved in the game. So there’s a lot of questions around this at the moment which are difficult to get answers for,” he told BBC’s Radio 5 Live.
Lawrence Nolan of PlanetRugby makes the point, as do hundreds of other writers, that concussion comes from the two players colliding and not through any desire by any player to give his opponent concussion.
Nolan described it as a licence for the ball-carrier to run directly at opposing players forcing the collision.
And how do the authorities respond to this?
It reminds me of when I was a little boy in the back of the car, my hands clenched between my legs pleading with my father’s head to stop the car so I can pee. He just simply stares straight ahead, stoically ignoring me, without hearing my desperate pleas.
The RFU didn’t consult anybody. They didn’t explain. They simply announced the rule, said it was to improve player safety, and moved on, presumably to a nice liquid lunch.
Whether the rule will enhance safety or not is only part of the problem.
The RFU, which is no different to World Rugby, likes to control rugby with an iron fist like a schoolmaster with unruly boys. They should not be allowed to dictate as if the game is their personal possession.
No, RFU! Daddy doesn’t always know best! And just to be clear — calling you daddy is not meant in a complimentary way.
Pictured above: Owen Farrell always ready for a high tackle. This time he hits Andre Esterhuizen
Image source: The Guardian