It may have to come to that. In a way, it's partly up to the players. If they stop the 'hippopotamus charges', a law change would probably not be necessary. Like you Dan, I played rugby for a long time and I hate to see some of these changes, but the data on concussions are overwhelming and the effect on some players quality of life is shocking/On that basis, we’re heading towards any entry to a ruck or maul being only on the basis of a bind and engage approach as with scrummaging ie no “hitting” the rucks or mauls.
A fair point Tim, but players are still getting injured. My feeling is that monster, shoulder-first clear-outs are still being coached, otherwise why would pros like O'Mahony do it? It was not an instinctive action - it was a bull charge into an established ruck. If the red cards work to stamp it out all well and good. If not, a rule change may still be required to ensure player safety.I'm not sure I follow this argument. Players are getting sent off - correctly - because they're flying in and make contact with the head. If they're getting sent off (which is odds on to lose their side the game) then the problem should be short-lived as players will think twice unless they can control their impact into the breakdown. What rules need to be changed?
scrum, ruck and maul (in previous incarnations) were essentially multi-participant sumo, rewarding the translation of combined and focused strength into forward motion. While possibly not as attractive as a handling move through the backs, it did result in a less congested field of play, as opposed the rugby league defence with players fanned across the field of play, so more opportunity to create a passing move.Is there a rugger equivalent of all-in wrestling?
Coaches are paid to coach to the limit of the rules. Even if not actively taught, players will figure it out quickly enough. It will make rucks and mauls a no contest area as the risk of a red card and effectively automatic loss of the game is too high.In which case we have a coaching problem QED.
The irony will be that it will presumably be replayed outside the international window and consequently the majority of players are unlikely to be released by their clubs.Finally, with 12 positive cases in the French team, the match against Scotland is being postponed... clearly the 12th positive team member did train yesterday with the already depleted team... so we can expect many more cases in team A, B and C... to be soon found positive...
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:
"Is it (the red card) malicious? Of course it's not. Is he a dirty player? Well everyone knows he's not, he doesn't have any discipline issues.
"But they are the rules and if he's tucked an arm in you are deemed to be always illegal and you've got to get on with it.
The refs are right to penalize the tucked arm charge. Its just too dangerous. I think you're right that it will be coached out of the game over the next year or so. As I've said before we want to see as few red cards as possible because 14 man teams lead to one outcome and the sending off extinguishes the contest. I wonder whether there could be three cards; a yellow (10 mins), an orange (20 mins), and a red. The red could then be used only for malicious head contact and other forms of violence. The orange could be used for head contact with no intent, and where there is no bad injury.Clearly the tucked arm is a substantial technical factor that is being heavily policed right now. Rightly or wrongly, that's what the current interpretation is pursuing, and I think I would argue it's an easy thing to train out of practice and I believe we'll be over this "slump" of red cards pretty soon. Most of the reds that have come up lately have displayed this behaviour.
I hope we don't see any reds this weekend for technical [and dangerous] offences like this, but I thought it was interesting to highlight what a top coach understands of the situation.
I thought I’d had an original thought for a moment. Now I know I’m simply off the pace!Yes - the orange card has been floated a fair bit recently and seems the obviously solution if the issue doesn't subside.
To clarify - when I said I hope we don't see any reds, I did mean I hope there are no offences rather than I hope offences are not punished!