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Kieran Read reveals future post RWC.

Leaving NZ Rugby.

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Photo by Silvia Lore/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Kieran Read will leave NZ rugby and join Japanese club Toyota Verblitz next year at the end of what will be his 13th season of professional rugby in New Zealand. To date Read (33) has played 118 Test matches since making his debut in November 2008, 43 as Captain.

“Every young rugby player in New Zealand dreams of the opportunities I have had to represent the All Blacks and the Crusaders, and I know I’ll look back at the end of the year with a great deal of pride to have worn those jerseys for as long as I have,” Read said.

“My family and I are looking forward to an overseas experience and Japan presents an awesome opportunity to immerse ourselves in Japanese culture as part of the Toyota club.

“I feel the time is right to make this announcement on my playing future, so that I can focus my efforts on the season ahead.”

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said:

“We want to wish Kieran all the very best for his swansong season in New Zealand Rugby. He’s been one of the most influential players in the world in his 13 years at the top of the professional game, an outstanding and hugely-respected All Blacks Captain, and an All Blacks centurion. We owe ‘Reado’ and others like him, who have given so much to our teams, a huge debt of gratitude. We wish him, wife Bridget and his family all the best for their adventures next year.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said:

“On behalf of New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks, I’d like to acknowledge the fantastic contribution that Reado has made to our game. His performances on the park speak for themselves: he’s played 118 Tests and started 111 of them, which is an outstanding achievement.

“However, that is only part of the Kieran Read story. His contribution off the park has been just as impressive. He’s developed into a fantastic leader, who has the utmost respect of all his peers. What he has achieved has been remarkable, and its fair to say that he is one of the greats of our game who has enhanced the legacy of not only the All Blacks jersey but also the Crusaders jersey. We wish him, Bridget and the kids all the very best in their next rugby chapter.”

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Injuries Are Not on the Rise in Rugby and Concussion is Decreasing

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Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

This week many in the rugby world met to discuss a dedicated player welfare and laws symposium in Marcoussis.

The aim is to ensure that players health and fitness is prioritised over everything. It’s first step is to shape the game post Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and the underpinning consideration is to reduce the risk of injury.

Members from unions, professional leagues, leading medics, researchers, scientists, players, coaches and lawmakers came together for the three-day event and evaluated data they have collected over the last cycle in order to make the next cycle as successful as possible.

They found that since 2014 the overall ball in play time has increased by 14% to 39 minutes, which subsequently means that the number of tackles, rucks and passes per game have increased.

The data which is taken from 22 elite competitions across the globe also found that the overall number of injuries has not increased, and concussion has actually dropped by 14% over the 2017/18 season.

This is the first time that concussion has dropped in the sport.

The tackle was found to account for 50% of all injuries, although that figure is decreasing. However, the tackle accounts for 76% of all concussions, with 72% of all concussions sustained are by the tackler.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont talked through the plan they hope to implement over the four-years following Japan.

“The objective of the symposium was to bring together playing, coaching, medical and law experts to identify and explore potential law changes to further injury-prevention while promoting game simplicity, accessibility and spectacle. We have made great progress in recent years. While it is evident from the latest detailed data that ball in play time and the number of tackles is increasing in elite rugby, the overall injury rate is not increasing globally and the concussion rate appears to be decreasing for the first time,” he said.

He also added that this is the first step in progressing player welfare within the game.

“However, we always strive to do more to protect our players and reduce the risk of injury. This forum was an important first collaborative step and the delegates identified a number of recommendations for our rugby committee to consider,” he said.

The outcomes of the symposium include a law trail; With injury-prevention at the heart of the new four-year quadrennial law review cycle, the delegates proposed a number of evidence-based areas for potential law for trial, which World Rugby will now evaluate in detail via the expert law review group.

A law application; World Rugby to implement a high tackle sanctioning framework to promote sanction consistency and public understanding.

The training loads of a player will now be noted starting in this year’s World Cup as players must have a “load passport” in which everything is logged to ensure the best-practice training load.

Injury surveillance that was implemented on January 1st which states a HIA must include; a) undertake detailed injury surveillance in line with World Rugby standards to create one comprehensive annual set of comparable and definitive global data, b) operate a match day doctor at every match, c) implement minimum video review standards and d) enable World Rugby representation on any HIA review panel.

Unions are now encouraged to adopt the Activate injury-prevention warm-up programme that was developed by the RFU and the University of Bath. This found a 50% decrease in concussions and a 40% reduction in injuries when used at least three times a week.

There will be more education at all levels on the tackle to continue the reduction of injuries in the area.

It is great to see the game become safer and hopefully with meetings and plans like this it continues in the right direction.

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French Rugby to trial new tackle laws. Banning 2 players hits.

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French Federation Rugby

French Rugby Federation’s (FFR) technical director Didier Retiere has announced that amateur rugby clubs in France will trial law changes next season which will see the enforcement of a lower tackle height and the banning of a 2 player tackle.

“We’re going to work on lowering the height of the tackle down to the waist and we are aiming to prohibit two-man tackles,” Retiere said at a Player Welfare and Law Symposium organised by the FFR and World Rugby in Paris.

“We have been given the green light for amateur competitions with youngsters and adults and we’re waiting for the green light to eventually bring the changes into the academy competitions,”

It has been a traumatic period in French rugby of late with four young players losing their lives since last May in France including Stade Francais teenager Nicolas Chauvin who died following a neck break and Aurillac’s 21-year-old Louis Fajrowski who died following a heavy tackle.

In December of last year the FFR offered to trial the idea in their amateur competitions.

Retiere, who formely was an assistant coach with France between 2007-2011, explained the development was with a view to improving the quality of play.

“Tackling around the shorts allows the ball carrier to off-load and allows them to break the line,”

“Defensive lines will have to put two or three players in the back-field so we could have less players in front line of defence.”

World Rugby has previously trialled lowering the tackle height from the shoulder to nipple line during U20 World Rugby Trophy in Romania.

The proposals are part of eight different law variations which World Rugby plans to trial in competitions across the globe in a 4-year cycle after the World Cup which ends early November.

World Rugby chief executive officer Brett Gosper revealed outcomes of the trials could be delivered in 12 months’ time.

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“Relatively quickly in the first half of next year we can already get some results, hopefully positive on some of these changes,” he told AFP.

“Those law trials will go through the Laws Review group and the Rugby Committee before being discussed and maybe even improved in some aspects of it.”

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Latest Argentina announcement is bad news for England.

Group of death.

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Photo by JUAN JOSE GASPARINI/AFP/Getty Images

Argentinian head coach Mario Ledesma has confirmed that the country will be using their European-based players during this year’s World Cup in Japan.

The Pumas have mostly used the players of the Jaguares team in recent years, however that has changed under Ledesma and he has made it known that he wants all his players ready for the tournament.

“It’s time to make things clear: we will not give away any more. We do not have to negotiate with European clubs on the release of internationals. When we want players, we will take them for four or five months if the need arises. If the French clubs want to continue to pay fortunes for these players, it’s their choice! And it does not matter if it falls on a championship final or a super important European Cup match,” he said.

His announcement means that they can now call upon the likes of Juan Imhoff (Racing) Santiago Cordero (Exeter), Juan Figallo (Saracens), Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais), Mariano Galarza (Bordeaux), Facundo Isa (Toulon), Nicolás Sánchez (Stade Francais) and Benjamín Urdapilleta (Castres) to bolster their team.

The news will send a message to the other members of their pool which includes England, France, Tonga and the USA. The Pumas are heading in all guns blazing and that is a worry for everyone else.

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