World Rugby is to undertake
detailed analysis of a package of law proposals following its
three-day player welfare symposium in Paris concluded with
delegates submitting evidence-based injury-prevention proposals.
Leading coaches, match officials, recently
retired players, international and domestic competition
representatives, game analysis experts, doctors and sports
scientists considered the detailed latest shape of the game and
injury data before breaking into workshops to consider potential
injury-prevention focus areas within the next four-year law
amendment review cycle that will begin after Rugby World Cup 2019.
While community and youth injury rates are
comparable to other mass-participation sports, overall elite level
injury-rates are not increasing and concussion incidence has
decreased by between 10-14% in the last year, the game is
united in its commitment to further reduce the risk of injury.
The latest elite level data confirms that ball
in play time has increased by 14% since 2014 and is as
high as 41 minutes in some competitions and therefore the number
of tackles has also increased. This is significant because the
tackle accounts for up to 50% of all match injuries and 76% of all concussions, while 73% of tackle
concussions occur to the tackler.
With the tackle the major focus, the delegates
focused on three areas: law change, behaviour change and tackle
education. Delegates also considered how the number and type of
tackles could be altered and greater space be created to deliver
better player welfare outcomes.
Having considered the game and injury trends,
the delegates formulated embryonic potential law trial solutions
for World Rugby to further explore within the law amendment
- Continue tackle height trials, including high
tackle warning programme, in identified elite rugby competitions;
- Examine the number of replacements used in
- Examine the promotion of space through
committing more defending players to the ruck and the ruck offside
- Examine ways to promote a greater contest at
- Examine the creation of space by examining
kicking and touch law; and
- Examine the ability to review a yellow card
when a player is in the sin-bin for dangerous foul play.
World Rugby will now take the
proposals from the forum forward to the specialist Law Review
Group in May, who will run detailed feasibility analysis and
determine suitability for potential trial and make recommendations
to the Rugby Committee.
Any law amendments that progress after
detailed evaluation, would initially be trialled in a closed
environment after Rugby World Cup 2019.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said,
"These are important first steps on the road to law review within
the next Rugby World Cup cycle. They are important because it is
the first time that we have kick-started the process with the sole
purpose of injury-prevention. We are at an embryonic stage. The
work of this group will go forward to the multi-disciplinary World
Rugby Law Review Group for detailed consideration and analysis and
to determine practicality, likely impact and therefore which
ideas, if any, would be suitable for closed trial recommendation.
I would like to thank all stakeholders for the expert
contributions. Together we will shape a simpler and safer game for
At the symposium, delegates reaffirmed their
commitment to ensure a clear, consistent and tough approach to
dangerous high tackles, while domestic competitions expressed a
desire to explore ways to assist with the future law trials
process, an important part in the four-year cycle.
World Rugby is also likely to call on an elite
competition to adopt a trial of a high-tackle warning system,
which halved concussion at the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship
in France. The initiative aims to change player and coach
behaviour and lower the acceptable height of the tackle by giving
a post-match warning to a defender who has made an upright tackle
resulting in head contact. Two warnings in a tournament result in
a one-match ban.
Pictures from 2019 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens,
Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong
Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015,
Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong
Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015,
Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014,
Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013,
of Chartis Cup 2012 and
Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.