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Upcoming Webinar: Tackle Behaviour Update

Upcoming Webinar: Tackle Behaviour Update

As part of our continued support of the implementation of the new tackle law trial, the domestic rugby department and medical department of Irish Rugby are hosting a webinar for key stakeholders across the game in Ireland.

During the course of the webinar there will be information on the Match Official Decision Making process, the competition and sanction methods, and concussion reporting protocols.

This webinar is aimed at players, referees and coaches of the Men’s and Women’s AIL, using insights from the first stages of their respective seasons. However these learnings can be useful across all areas of domestic rugby and therefore this webinar is open to for all to attend.

The webinar will take place on Monday 20, November at 6:30pm and you can register here 

A recording of the webinar will be made available to all clubs and schools following this and it will also be added to our tackle behaviour area on our website. 

Head of rugby development, Coiln McEntee added “Now that the season is underway we wanted to engage with our; Players, Coaches and Referees with an update on how the initial stages of the new Tackle Height Law trial are proceeding, and share the early themes that are emerging. The engagement to date has been excellent and show’s a rugby community who care about their players welfare. However, it is important to ensure we maintain our efforts to have a sustained behaviour change across everyone in our domestic game. I’d encourage everyone to log on and stay up to date with this process.”

IRFU Tackle Height Law Trial – 2023/24 and 2024/25: “Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the sternum* even if the tackle starts below the line of the sternum.”

What is the Purpose of the trial? The purpose of this trial is to incentivise greater use of the belly tackle and ultimately reduce incidents of head-on-head impact in the tackle.

Risk of head injury/impact is at its highest when tackles are made to the head and shoulder area, with the latest World Rugby and laboratory studies showing that head injury risk is lowest when tackles are made to the belly area.

There is an increasing body of evidence showing that improved tackle behaviours around tackle height can reduce occurrences of head injuries, including concussion, in the tackle. Over 70% of all concussions occur in the tackle, with the tackler at higher risk. Lower tackles are safer than higher tackles. The greatest risk of head injury is when the tackler and ball carrier heads occupy the same space, so efforts must be made to separate the heads.

How is this trial being quantified? Irish Rugby, through IRIS Project(Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance) and World Rugby, are analysing injury data, match footage and stakeholder feedback across all levels of Irish Rugby to accurately represent the impact of the trial on injuries, behaviour change and game metrics.

Competitions/Sanctions – key points to be aware of:

  • If in the judgement of the Referee a high tackle (above the line of sternum) warrants a yellow card regardless of level of danger(including repeated infringement), it is a foul play Yellow Card. 2 yellow cards for foul play would be an automatic one match suspension in most cases.
  • The Match Official Decision Making framework shows how decisions are made, it is critical that Coaches, Players and supporters are aware of this to allow all stakeholders understand decisions.
  • It is important to note that tackles which were always illegal are not subject to this process.
  • Nearly half of all tackles involve more than one tackler and so for the purpose of clarity, the legal tackle height of below the sternum would apply to all players involved in the tackle.