(Reuters) - The English Rugby Football Union (RFU) will trial a rule change which lowers the height of a legal tackle in the upcoming second-tier Championship Cup campaign, the national governing body has said.
The amendment to the sport’s laws, which will see the height of a legal tackle lowered from the line of the shoulders to above the armpit line, comes after an RFU report showed that 47 percent of all match injuries are associated with the tackle.
The new rule will be used in all 43 matches in the pool stages of the Championship Cup and the play-offs.
“We believe lowering the height of the tackle will benefit both the ball carrier and the tackler,” RFU professional rugby director Nigel Melville said in a statement.
“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 initiative is in collaboration with global governing body World Rugby, who trialled the rule change during the U20 Championship in May and will also utilise the amended rules in the U20 Trophy tournament, which starts in August.
“The global game is committed to an evidence-based approach to injury prevention and the outcomes from this trial... provide World Rugby with comprehensive data and feedback to inform our continued commitment to further reducing concussion risk in rugby,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont added.
A meeting between the clubs’ directors of rugby, coaches, senior player representatives, referees and assistant referees will be held on Aug. 5 to ensure that all parties are prepared for the changes before the Championship begins on Nov. 10.
“Obviously player welfare is at the top of everyone’s agenda and any action that is a potential benefit to the players is welcomed by the clubs,” Championship chairman Geoff Irvine said.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty