High tack­les out­lawed in Cham­pi­ons Cup

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport - Gavin Mairs

Ref­er­ees have been in­structed to adopt a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to high tack­les in the Heineken Cham­pi­ons Cup this sea­son and to is­sue red cards to of­fend­ers in an at­tempt to im­prove player safety.

Joel Jutge, the ref­eree man­ager for Euro­pean Pro­fes­sional Club Rugby , the tour­na­ment or­gan­iser, held a meet­ing with the lead­ing of­fi­cials in Mar­cous­sis near Paris last week to co-or­di­nate the crack­down, while broad­cast­ers BT Sport have also been in­formed of what will not be tol­er­ated.

Club Rugby chair Si­mon Hal­l­i­day said the di­rec­tive was nec­es­sary, given the po­ten­tial for dif­fer­ing law in­ter­pre­ta­tions across the var­i­ous do­mes­tic leagues. “We have to make sure there is con­sis­tency and fair­ness, be­cause that mush­rooms – as we’ve al­ready seen this sea­son – into com­ments from coaches and play­ers, or com­ments from the heads of dis­ci­pline,” Hal­l­i­day said.

“If you go in high you risk a red card. Sim­ple as that. Peo­ple aren’t stupid. Coaches and direc­tors of rugby can’t af­ford to lose these matches so they’ll be telling their play­ers, do not go in above the shoul­der. If you go down to 14, you are un­likely to win a game.”

Hal­l­i­day said it was crit­i­cal to adopt this ap­proach given the le­gal prece­dents in the US sur­round­ing law­suits filed against the NFL over con­cus­sion in­juries in Amer­i­can foot­ball.

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