MUST READ for all rugby players, coaches and referees in ALL GRADES throughout Otago ———>NEW HIGH TACKLE “Re-definitions”

CLARIFICATION regarding World Rugby’s recently announced new measures to limit contact with the head.

Throughout our province in 2017 Otago Rugby Referees will, like all other provinces, be interpreting high tackles and dangerous contact with the head according to the new directives. It is vitally important that all participants of the game have a clear understanding of how the laws are to be applied and what each situation looks like. By providing clarifications and further information we hope that there will be a mutually sound understanding from all parties and this in turn will lead to better, safer rugby.

Lets be clear, nothing has dramatically changed. A high tackle is still just that, a high tackle. But the classing and sanctions are being interpreted based on different criteria.

There are now TWO categories of dangerous tackle:

Accidental tackle
When making contact with another player during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game, if a player makes accidental contact with an opponent’s head, either directly or where the contact starts below the line of the shoulders, the player may still be sanctioned. This includes situations where the ball-carrier slips into the tackle.

Minimum sanction: Penalty

Reckless tackle
A player is deemed to have made reckless contact during a tackle or attempted tackle or during other phases of the game if in making contact, the player knew or should have known that there was a risk of making contact with the head of an opponent, but did so anyway. This sanction applies even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. This type of contact also applies to grabbing and rolling or twisting around the head/neck area even if the contact starts below the line of the shoulders.

Minimum sanction: Yellow card
Maximum sanction: Red card

More educational information can be found on World Rugby’s player welfare site

The BEST understanding however comes from those at the very top of our profession. SEE BELOW as international referees Wayne Barnes and John Lacey run through the interpretations of the laws, with video examples. This should make it easier to visualise how these may be applied.