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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

Wasps sign Munster & Edinburgh players short-term loan deals

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Wasps are delighted to announce that Alex McHenry and Patrick Harrison have joined the Club on short-term deals from United Rugby Championship sides Munster Rugby and Edinburgh Rugby respectively.  

McHenry, a 24-year-old centre, will provide cover for Malakai Fekitoa while he is out with a shoulder injury, while Harrison will provide vital cover at hooker with Gabriel Oghre unavailable.

The 6ft 2in Irishman McHenry, came through the Munster Academy and was capped by Ireland U20 in 2017. McHenry also featured for the Ireland 7s side during the following season. The Christian Brothers College product captained Munster U19s in 2015.

19-year-old Harrison, made his Edinburgh debut against Dragons at the Principality Stadium in March 2020 at the age of 18, becoming the youngest hooker in the club’s history.

That day, he also became the third youngest debutant in PRO14 history – and Edinburgh’s fourth youngest debutant of all time. Harrison made his first start for the Scottish side in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup clash against Ulster in June 2021.

Wasps Men’s Head Coach Lee Blackett said: “We are delighted to bring Alex and Paddy on board. They will provide vital cover for us, while we are without a number of first team squad players.”  

McHenry added: “I am delighted to get the opportunity to play in the Gallagher Premiership.

“Wasps play a great brand of rugby and I’m looking forward to playing my part in that.”

Harrison said: “I am excited to come down and play some rugby in the English Premiership.

“Wasps are a famous Club, and it is an honour to have joined them.”

Tickets are available for our next Gallagher Premiership home games online by clicking here or by calling the Wasps Ticket Office on 02476 786 411.

Source – Wasps Rugby

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Thomas Young leaving Wasps for Wales

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(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Cardiff Rugby are thrilled to secure the services of Wales flanker Thomas Young on a long-term deal at the Arms Park.

The 29-year-old, who came through the Cardiff pathway and made 10 senior appearances before crossing the border, has established himself as one of the most consistent players in the English Premiership.

During a seven-season stay at Wasps, Young has made 141 appearances and scored 35 tries – more than any other forward in the Coventry-based club’s history. 

His fine form for Wasps has led to three previous Wales caps, with eligibility rules preventing further appearances but Young has now taken the decision to return to his homeland. 

He said: “I’m really excited to have this opportunity at Cardiff and I’m looking forward to returning home to Wales. 

“It was a difficult decision to make because I’ve had such an enjoyable time at Wasps and learnt so much, which I remain very grateful for but I’m also a proud Welshman and the opportunity to stake a claim for further international honours was too great to turn down. 

“Once I made that decision, Cardiff was always my preference – this is my home club. I am born and bred in the Cynon Valley, I played all of my age-grade rugby for the region and still have a lot of friends here from that time. 

“I’m looking forward to linking up with the boys and contributing next season but remain fully committed to Wasps and want to sign off on a high.” 

Young last featured for Wasps in Sunday’s Midlands derby victory over Northampton Saints, in which he was named man-of-the-match.

He has also captained the English giants on numerous occasions and Dai Young, who of course is the flanker’s father, believes he will be a significant addition for the Blue and Blacks. 

The Cardiff Director of Rugby said: “When Thomas made the decision to return to Wales, we were of course very keen to bring him home to Cardiff – that goes for myself, the coaches and board.

“It is my job to improve and develop this squad and I have no doubt that Thomas will significantly add to our strength and depth in the back-row and drive standards in our environment. 

“He suits the style we want to play and I know he will do his talking on the pitch and show everyone in Wales how good he is.

“This is just the first in a number of signings we will make in this building process and the journey we are on. I know the positions we want to strengthen and we will continue to do that.”

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Simpson joins Bath Rugby on initial three-month loan

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Image Credit: Bath Rugby Twitter

Bath Rugby is pleased to announce experienced scrum-half Joe Simpson has joined the Blue, Black and Whites on an initial three-month loan from Gloucester.

The 33-year-old arrives as injury cover for Ben Spencer and will compete for a starting berth alongside Ollie Fox, Max Green and Tom Carr-Smith. 

Simpson has been one of the most consistent performers in the Gallagher Premiership since graduating from the Wasps Academy in 2008. 

He headed into the Black and Gold’s first team striking up an electric partnership with Danny Cipriani, culminating in the duo playing 53 Wasps games together across the latter’s two spells at the club. 

Featuring over 250 times for Wasps in 13 years, one-cap England international Simpson signed for Gloucester in 2019 where he scored 11 tries in 29 matches ahead of a short-term deal with Saracens this season.

“We are delighted to bring in a player of Joe’s Premiership quality to our group,” Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper said. 

“He adds great experience to our squad and will enhance the competition for the nine shirt alongside Ollie, Max and Tom whilst Ben is injured.”

Source – Bath Rugby

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