Rugby dangers

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The set scrum is now a complete waste of time and energy (your report, 21 September and Letters, 22 September). The hooker does not hook the ball as the scrum half now puts it squint into his own side’s pack and not straight into the middle, as it says in the rules. The ball should be put in straight or a penalty should be awarded, as in the past.

The nonsense about a defending side deliberately collapsing a scrum is ridiculous.

Collapse is generally engineered by the attacking side to gain a penalty and normally three little points, never mind the injury possibilities.

The potential for front row injury is massive; in fact, at senior level the front rows are nearly always substituted roughly an hour into the game.

As the forwards are now too over-developed and dangerously heavy there should perhaps be only five forwards in each side on the pitch, or six at the most, thereby reducing the stress on front necks and shoulders.

The game is lacking in guile and skill; almost all the players are built, or acting like, forwards. When was the last time anyone saw a sidestep or a dummy?

If there were only five forwards the backs could try to run a movement without just slamming into the monsters from the other side, with enormous potential for injury.

Also, it is an offence to handle the ball on the ground, but perhaps the referees don’t know that. After a tackle everyone seems to be allowed to move it around by hand. You are technically only allowed to use feet to move the ball on the ground in a scrum or “ruck”.

Let’s get the game back on its feet with ball-handling skills 
restored and openings seen and created by skill, not beef.

Perhaps tackles should only be allowed below the waist, or even below the knees; then any high tackles would be given a yellow card – that would stop them, wouldn’t it?

Managers should be looking for players with, or generating, talent and ball-handling skills, not just muscle. How many times have we seen balls dropped or mis-passed as the player was trying to avoid the rhinoceros racing towards him? The muscle on humans turns to fat in later years

Let’s make the game 
genuinely entertaining again.

John Maclean

Stevenson Road

Haddington, East Lothian

There are two issues regarding concussion in rugby which require to be addressed.

The first is that if the medical team consider a player may have been concussed the referee must not allow the player to return to the pitch.

The second is that the laws be changed to outlaw the smother tackle. The height above which a tackler may contact his opponent has to be restricted.

A tackler who breaks this rule should be sent off with either a yellow card, or in a severe case a red card.

John Kelly

High Street

Dalkeith

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