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Newark Rugby Club responds to Rugby Football Union tackling rule change

Confusion has been caused by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after they made an unexpected announcement reducing the height of tackling in the game.

The RFU voted unanimously to lower the legal tackle height in the amateur game to the waist.

The move has proven to be immensely unpopular with strong backlash from community clubs across England.

Newark Rugby Club have addressed the controversial changes.
Newark Rugby Club have addressed the controversial changes.

Newark Rugby Club’s John Clark addressed concerns over the decision with his club’s membership.

“We want to update the club membership on how we propose to respond to the recent announcements regarding changes to the tackle laws,” said Clark.

“Firstly, the RFU announcement on tackle law changes came out of the blue.

“Various trials have been and continue to be held around the world but we were unaware that the RFU would act unilaterally and change the laws relating to tackle height.

“Like many clubs, we have been extremely disappointed with the way the RFU chose to announce important law changes in our game.

“Their announcement was not supported with any evidence or information to justify the reasons for the change and we have been left to speculate on the reasons.

“There has been a significant backlash from passionate rugby people who fear for the future of the game they love.

“We all know that concussion has become a significant topic of conversation around the world.

“Most of us would support well-thought-out and well-tested changes that would have positive impacts on injury levels.

“However, we need the details to be able to make our own informed decisions.

“On important decisions like this, the RFU expecting blind trust is not acceptable.

Some rugby fans are worried the rule change could kill the game.
Some rugby fans are worried the rule change could kill the game.

“We will be writing to the NLD Chairman and NLD’s RFU Council Member to express our concerns at the way this whole issue has been handled by the RFU.

“We are also very concerned that the NLD voted in favour of the changes at the RFU Council meeting without any referral to the NLD Clubs to solicit their opinions on what would be a crucial law change.”

The chairman also expressed concerns about the proposed changes to the Game Management System.

The proposal would require all senior players at all levels to be registered before they could begin playing.

The club believes that this will harm the number of senior players who decide to continue playing.

This will also impose additional administration time for clubs in an era where finding volunteers to assist in the running of clubs is a difficult task.

“Despite being disappointed at the RFU process and communication so far, we will reserve making our full judgment on the changes until we have been presented with the supporting evidence and full reasons for the change,” said Clark.

“We will continue to strive and act in the best interest of our club community and, whatever changes are eventually adopted, we will ensure they are fully implemented at our club for your benefit.”

After the initial backlash on the shock development, the RFU released a further statement and said they would communicate more efficiently.

“The RFU Board, Council, and executive staff apologise for the anger and concern that has been created among the rugby community by announcing the decision to lower the tackle height from next season,” it read.

“In our desire to act quickly to reduce head impacts and concussions in the community game, which represents 99% of the rugby-playing population in England, we have upset many of you who are the champions, volunteers, and ambassadors of our game.

“We fully acknowledge we got the engagement wrong, and we are truly sorry.

“In making our decision we were aware that France has lowered the tackle height, New Zealand will be doing so and the World Rugby supports this approach.

“We, like the French, used the term “waist and below” and this has caused misunderstanding and confusion.

“We would now like the game to help us define how we describe a lower tackle height to reflect what the research is telling us in a way that is understood by all.”

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