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RFU to bring down tackle height from shoulder level to armpit up to U18s

The new rule means all players who are permitted to tackle in full contact age grade rugby will do so at the same height.

The new rule aims to promote better safety standards in underage rugby.
The new rule aims to promote better safety standards in underage rugby.
Image: PA

THE RUGBY FOOTBALL Union [RFU] has introduced a new law regarding the tackle height in age grade rugby in England for the 2021/22 season. 

The new rule, which will be extended to U15 to U18s, will bring the tackle height down from shoulder level to the armpit.

This means all players who are permitted to tackle in full contact age grade rugby will do so at the same height. 

The rule which was in place before this change applied to those playing full contact rugby at U9 to U14 levels and had an imagined line between the armpits as the maximum height of a legal tackle.  

“This is an exciting and important piece of work,” says RFU Head of Game Development John Lawn.

“We started planning for this back in 2019 and it builds on everything done in the age grade game over the last decade putting in place a building block approach to full contact rugby.

“We want to make the game as safe as possible, but without losing the physical element that’s popular with players and this law change supports that.

“As a result of the fallow 2020-2021 season due to Covid-19 all age grade players, except for next season’s U17 and U18 age grades, will only have experienced tackling below the line of the armpit. A continuation of the laws they were previously familiar with will support their reintegration back into the game.

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“Maintaining a single tackle height also supports the integration of players in the dual or triple age bands in the girls’ game.”

Additionally, the RFU will also be implementing and evaluating a waist height tackle law variation and restricting late dipping/leading into contact with the head by the ball carrier in approximately 1,200 games in the U16 to U18 age grades during 2021/22.

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