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World Rugby will take 'zero tolerance' approach to reckless high tackles in 2017

The governing body have upgraded the sanctions for tackles that make contact with the head.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

GOVERNING BODY WORLD Rugby has today announced that their officials should have a ‘zero tolerance’ for reckless tackles that make contact with a player’s head.

The organisations says that injuries are not on the rise, but from 3 January 2017 the game will be subject to redefined high tackle laws, featuring minimum sanction of a yellow card for a reckless tackle and a penalty for an accidental high tackle.

World Rugby will also trial a lowered tackle height at lower levels of the game next year.

The Law 10.4 (e) change means that a minimum in-game sanction of a yellow card should be applied if a player “knew or should have known that there was a risk of making contact with the head of an opponent, but did so anyway.”

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

The maximum in-game sanction for this offence will be a red card, and World Rugby have used Malakai Fekitoa’s tackle on Simon Zebo from November as an example when a sending-off is warranted.

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Source: SAReferees/YouTube

Today’s statement adds that the revised law will be applied even when the tackle began below the shoulders and slipped up to the neck and head area.

In the case of an ‘accidental’ high tackle, such as when a ball carrier slips into a tackle or when the tackle began below the shoulders, the minimum sanction will be a penalty – the previous minimum sanction for a reckless high tackle.

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Sean Farrell

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