Scottish Rugby lower tackle height for all levels Tennent's Premiership and below from start of next season
The law trial will see tackle height reduced from shoulder height to below the sternum, also known as 'belly tackle' height, at all levels of adult and youth rugby from Tennent's Premiership and below.
The move to lower the tackle height follows World Rugby endorsed trials conducted in France and South Africa, where lowering the tackle height has been shown to reduce the number of head-on-head contacts and concussions.
Lowering the tackle height has also shown positive outcomes regarding increased ball-in-play time and offloading. The changes have also helped to increase player participation in France.
Scottish Rugby’s Rugby Development department were commissioned by the Club Rugby Board to conduct a series of online consultation sessions in February with clubs, schools and referee societies.
Of those who participated in the consultation, 80 percent indicated they were in favour of the lower tackle height, with only six percent stating they were content with current laws.
Last month, World Rugby’s Executive Board recommended that national Unions participate in an opt-in global trial of lowering the tackle height in their respective community games to a below the sternum level.
Scottish Rugby first implemented lower tackle height laws at age-grade level rugby for those playing at U15 level in the boys’ and girls’ game in 2017, but this is the first time the tackle height has been amended for all levels of domestic rugby in Scotland.
On the announcement, Keith Wallace, Scottish Rugby vice-president and CRB chairman said: “Player welfare is of utmost importance to the representatives of the CRB, and as custodians for the community game, it is vital that we place safety and enjoyment at the heart of the decisions we make.
“We strongly believe reducing the tackle height from next season encompasses both of those matters and will create a more positive, and ultimately safer environment, in which our sport is played.
“It has been encouraging to see the level of engagement which those in our game met the consultation period with, and their receptiveness to the evidence from World Rugby’s endorsed trials."
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