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RFU Scrap ‘Tackle Height Trial’ – “unanticipated’ finding”

‘unanticipated’ finding’

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Written by Reynardt Deminey
Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

The Championship Cup tackle height trial will not continue for the knockout stages of the competition, which will begin on Saturday 2 February 2019. This was confirmed by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) today.

Interim Chief Executive Nigel Mellville stated that: “The RFU is committed to an evidence-based approach to injury-prevention”

“This was always a trial and we weren’t sure what the outcomes would be. Our two main objectives were to determine whether through law change the height of the tackle can actually be reduced and if a reduction in the height of the tackle then leads to a reduction in concussion risk”, he added.

The trial which was scheduled to run for the duration of the competition did succeed in lowering tackle heights. There was a 24% decrease in tackles where contact was made on the player above the armpit line, a 25% decrease in tackles where contact was made on an upright player above the armpit line by an upright tackler and a 41% decrease in the number of tackles where contact was made with the head or the neck of the player carrying the ball.

Despite the first objective being achieved, there was an unanticipated increase in concussion risk to the tackler where contact was made above the armpit line with a bent at the waist ball carrying player, the RFU said.

Melville added: “We need to analyse the data in more detail, but our preliminary analysis has shown all of these incidents occurred when a bent at the waist tackler was attempting to tackle a bent at the waist ball carrier following a short pass from the scrum half. This is an area that the trial was not specifically looking to influence as the primary focus was to reduce the risk of concussion where ball carrier and tackler were both upright. We will be analysing this particular situation in more detail.”

“Overall this has been an extremely valuable exercise. We’ve learnt a lot and tested an approach to reducing the risk of concussion in a real-life setting. We have shown that reducing tackle height is achievable and we already have useful and detailed data from the first 36 matches in this 43-game cup competition.”

As a result of the decision to not continue with the trial, match officials will revert to the original rule for the knock out fixtures. The line of the shoulders will again be the permitted tackle height when the knockout stages begin.

Before releasing the final report the RFU will be analysing the data in more detail. The report will be discussed at the World Rugby meeting in France in March.

Melville added that the RFU would like to thank all clubs, coaches, medics, management, players and fans for their support, understanding, and engagement during the trial.

“The RFU is constantly looking at ways to make the game safer and looks forward to taking this research to the World Rugby meeting March and discussing ideas and challenges with other unions.”

Premiership

London Irish announce signing of Creevy

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Argentina international Agustin Creevy has agreed to join London Irish with immediate effect.

The former international captain made 89 appearances for Los Pumas, including playing at two Rugby World Cups. His impressive number of international caps ensures that Creevy is currently the most capped Argentinian international player of all time.

Over half of Creevy’s international appearances saw him captain Argentina, proving his leadership qualities on the highest stage.

The hooker’s career has seen him develop his game in France with Biarritz, Clermont and Montpellier before joining Worcester Warriors. More recently, Creevy has been plying his trade with Super Rugby’s Jaguares, helping the Argentinean franchise to the 2019 Super Rugby final.

Creevy’s arrival at London Irish sees the Exiles’ amount of different nationalities grow to 10. The squad currently has players from England, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Fiji, Zimbabwe, Samoa, Tonga and now Argentina.

Commenting on the latest addition to the squad, Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby, said: “Agustin comes to London Irish with a fantastic amount of club and international experience.

“Hopefully he can help to continue the journey that the club is on.”

“I am looking forward to joining London Irish and playing in England once again,” explained Creevy.

“Declan spoke very highly of the club, the people and the direction they want to go. I can’t wait to join up with my teammates and to get stuck in.”

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Premiership

Saracens star signs 2 year extension

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(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Saracens is delighted to announce Scotland international Sean Maitland has committed his future to the club.

The 31-year-old has penned a two-year contract and will remain in north London until at least 2022.

Maitland has played his part in some of Saracens’ biggest moments over the past four years, scoring crucial tries in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership final successes.

In total, the winger has crossed the whitewash 29 times in 73 Sarries appearances and feels at home in NW4.

“I’m very happy to extend my Saracens; it was a bit of a no-brainer for me,” Maitland said.

“My family love it here, we’re settled and I wanted to stayed because I love being here and I love what the club is about and the people that are in it.

“We’re one big family. That comes right from the top, from the owner, into the group and the Academy. We’re all aligned, one big family, and for me that’s important.

Director of Rugby Mark McCall said: “Sean has made an outstanding contribution to our club over the last four years both on and off the field.

“He has taken his game to a new level during that time and has had a great influence on some of our younger players. To have a player of Sean’s quality and experience commit his future to the club is a huge boost.”

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Gloucester announce departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann

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(Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Gloucester Rugby today announced the departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann, who will be joining Japanese club NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in July.

Gloucester Rugby Chairman Martin St Quinton said “I’d look to put on record our thanks to Johan for the significant contribution he’s made to the Club over the three seasons he’s been with us. His infectious enthusiasm for the game, as well as his in-depth rugby knowledge, made him not only a fans’ favourite, but a strong leader of our playing department. I wish him every success in his new venture.”

David Humphreys, Director of Rugby, added:

“While I’m sorry to see Johan leave Gloucester Rugby, I fully understand his reasons for doing so. Johan approached Martin and me to say that he had received a number of coaching opportunities which, for personal reasons, he would like to consider and we agreed to his request.

In his 3 years at Gloucester, Johan transformed the way we play the game and his “play to inspire” philosophy will leave a lasting impact from his time at the Club. I know it was a difficult decision for him to leave Gloucester and I’ve no doubt he’ll make a real difference with the Red Hurricanes in Japan.

Ackermann joined the Cherry and Whites at the start of the 2017/18 season, and took the team to the final of the European Challenge Cup in his first season. The following season ended with the Club in third place in the Premiership, thus qualifying for a second successive season of European Champions Cup rugby.

Johan Ackermann had this message for the Gloucester fans, staff and players: “Being Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby has been a tremendous privilege for me, and I have loved every minute of it. Working with such a fantastic group of players and coaches has been a great experience. I would especially like to thank Martin [St Quinton] for the faith that he has shown in me. His support and friendship have meant a lot to me. Gloucester Rugby fans are a truly unique group, and I will always cherish the memories I have of being at Kingsholm. I wish the Club nothing but the best.”

Gloucester Rugby today announce the departure of Head Coach Johan Ackermann, who will be joining Japanese club NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in July.

Gloucester Rugby Chairman Martin St Quinton said “I’d look to put on record our thanks to Johan for the significant contribution he’s made to the Club over the three seasons he’s been with us. His infectious enthusiasm for the game, as well as his in-depth rugby knowledge, made him not only a fans’ favourite, but a strong leader of our playing department. I wish him every success in his new venture.”

David Humphreys, Director of Rugby, added:

“While I’m sorry to see Johan leave Gloucester Rugby, I fully understand his reasons for doing so. Johan approached Martin and me to say that he had received a number of coaching opportunities which, for personal reasons, he would like to consider and we agreed to his request.

In his 3 years at Gloucester, Johan transformed the way we play the game and his “play to inspire” philosophy will leave a lasting impact from his time at the Club. I know it was a difficult decision for him to leave Gloucester and I’ve no doubt he’ll make a real difference with the Red Hurricanes in Japan.

Ackermann joined the Cherry and Whites at the start of the 2017/18 season, and took the team to the final of the European Challenge Cup in his first season. The following season ended with the Club in third place in the Premiership, thus qualifying for a second successive season of European Champions Cup rugby.

Johan Ackermann had this message for the Gloucester fans, staff and players: “Being Head Coach of Gloucester Rugby has been a tremendous privilege for me, and I have loved every minute of it. Working with such a fantastic group of players and coaches has been a great experience. I would especially like to thank Martin [St Quinton] for the faith that he has shown in me. His support and friendship have meant a lot to me. Gloucester Rugby fans are a truly unique group, and I will always cherish the memories I have of being at Kingsholm. I wish the Club nothing but the best.”

In light of Johan’s departure and the implications arising from Covid-19, The Board of Gloucester Rugby has discussed a new coaching structure for the playing department, and will make an announcement about it once the appropriate consultations have taken place.

In light of Johan’s departure and the implications arising from Covid-19, The Board of Gloucester Rugby has discussed a new coaching structure for the playing department, and will make an announcement about it once the appropriate consultations have taken place.

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