It’s interesting to hear that World Rugby is considering a trial at youth level to outlaw tackling above the waist.
The proposed change is intended to be a concussion-prevention measure and there’s little doubt in my mind that the high “hit” is responsible for an increasing number of head injuries in rugby – both for the tackled player and the tackler. It therefore has to be worth experimenting with a change in the laws to see if a difference can be made.
Not that a law change in itself will solve the issue. Just as important will be coaching good tackling technique. I’ve seen a number of concussion injuries - Dylan Hartley against France in Paris earlier this year, for instance (and, indeed, myself many moons ago) – caused by the tackler getting his head in the wrong position when trying to tackle low.
The emphasis, therefore, has to be on teaching kids good tackling skills at an early age and developing “best practice” tackling technique as they progress. The proposed law change will undoubtedly help, however, to reinforce what is being coached…