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French rugby set to trial revolutionary tackle law changes

World Rugby chief executive officer Brett Gosper says outcomes could be released in 12 months’ time.

File pic.
File pic.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

AMATEUR RUGBY CLUBS in France will trial law changes which include lowering the height of a tackle and banning tackles by two players next season, the French Rugby Federation’s (FFR) technical director Didier Retiere said on Tuesday.

“We’re going to work on lowering the height of the tackle down to the waist and we are aiming to prohibit two-man tackles,” Retiere said at a Player Welfare and Law Symposium organised by the FFR and World Rugby in Paris.

“We have been given the green light for amateur competitions with youngsters and adults and we’re waiting for the green light to eventually bring the changes into the academy competitions,” he added.

Four young rugby players have died since last May in France including Stade Francais teenager Nicolas Chauvin after breaking his neck and Aurillac’s 21-year-old Louis Fajrowski following a heavy tackle.

In December last year the FFR offered to trial the idea in their amateur competitions.

Retiere, who was an assistant coach with France between 2007-2011, explained the development was with a view to improving the quality of play.

“Tackling around the shorts allows the ball carrier to off-load and allows them to break the line,” Retiere said

“Defensive lines will have to put two or three players in the back-field so we could have less players in front line of defence.”

World Rugby trialled lowering the tackle height from the shoulder to nipple line during September’s World Rugby U20 Trophy in Romania.

The proposals are part of eight different law variations which World Rugby plans to trial in competitions across the globe in a four-year cycle after the World Cup which ends on 2 November.

World Rugby chief executive officer Brett Gosper said outcomes of the trials could be released in 12 months’ time.

“Relatively quickly in the first half of next year we can already get some results, hopefully positive on some of these changes,” he told AFP.

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“Those law trials will go through the Laws Review group and the Rugby Committee before being discussed and maybe even improved in some aspects of it.”

© AFP, 2019

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