Old school match sparks online debate over tackle height laws
By Rugby Onslaught

Old school match sparks online debate over tackle height laws

It is pretty obvious that the RFU’s plan to outlaw tackling above the waist in amateur rugby from next season has not gone down too well.

One of the arguments being put forward by those in favour of the change is that rugby will go back to the pre professional days of free flowing rugby. Former England scrum-half Kyran Bracken used a highlights reel of a 1987 World Cup match between Ireland and Tonga in Brisbane to show what rugby used to be like in the days when tackling below the waist was more or less the norm.

He wrote on Twitter: “Watch this rugby and you will see great play with mostly below waist tackles. High tackles came in after pro-rugby and defence coaches. Interesting to see how the game can be played!”

The clip has not received the support he was maybe expecting though. While there are a few that have said that tackling high is something that has come from rugby league, and support the type of rugby waist high tackling might create, the majority have pointed out that the tackling here is non existent at points. It has also been said that some of the tackling shown in the clip is inconceivable in the modern game, regardless of whether players can go above or below the waist, which is hard to disagree with.

Here are some comments:

“Very entertaining watch, although very few of the below waist tackles are completed.”

“Agree partly but the great free flowing play is also, to be fair, mainly as a result of incredibly passive defence, no structure, physicality at all. The game will never go back to that as much as it is lovely to watch.”

“There are barely any tackles in it. Watching games with a score line of 64-45 will soon get tiresome. Not to mention the 7 yellow cards per game….let it be. Don’t want to play? Then don’t play…”

“Tbh some if the tackling or non tackling here seems bloody average and thats being kind.
Proper effective waist or below tackling for 80 mins requires high degree of fitness, technique, flexibility and ticker. Shd never b mandatory for weekend warriors! Its beyond them.”

“I’m just seeing a bunch of missed tackles and handling errors.”

“You’ll also see some terrible defending. I mean if anyone missed those sorts of tackles these days they wouldn’t get picked for their local team let alone professional.”