Schoolboy rugby’s new tackle safety Laws set to change the game

The new Tackle Laws aimed at both the tackler and the ball carrier alike, are set to be the single biggest story of the South African schoolboy rugby season of 2024.
The Laws have been introduced in the interests of improving head contact safety.
Effectively ball carriers have to be more upright (head higher than hips) running into contact in open play (not applicable to pick-and-drive play).
Ball carriers should have better opportunities to free up their hands and offload the ball in contact as tacklers will have to aim at making hits between the knees and the base of the sternum.
Also important to note is that even if a tackle starts in the right area, it may still be sanctioned if it ends anywhere above the belly.

Law 9.11

Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others including leading with the elbow or forearm, or jumping into, or over, a tackler.

Amendment: 

9.11 (a)   Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others including leading with the head, elbow or forearm, or jumping into, or over, a tackler.

9.11 (b)  A ball carrier may not run with his/her body fully bent or horizontal, or head lower than  hips or lead headfirst into contact in open play.  (Sanction:  Penalty Kick)

Law 9.13

A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.

Amendment: 

A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the base of the sternum even if the tackle starts below the base of the sternum.

Law 9.11

The term ‘open play’ refers to any phase in the match where the ball is being passed or kicked between team-mates and both teams are contesting for the ball. In open play, the team in possession tries to get the ball to players in space who can make forward progress towards the opposing goal line

Therefore, Law 9.11 is not applicable to “pick and drive” scenario’s or in the act of scoring a try

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. avatar
    #8 Chronicle

    @OudAffie (Comment #7)
    Hoe do you judge 5cm above or below the base of the sternum. Will teams have to wear shirts with a stripe or dot to mark the base of the sternum?

    ReplyReply
    1 February, 2024 at 19:40
  2. avatar
    #7 OudAffie

    @beet (Comment #6)
    In terms of Weight restrictions, NZ has some leagues for under 80kg, under 90kg etc. Think that is where our junior school and under 20 teams are ahead of them, our guys are just huge because they can be.In terms of the big guys and them getting bigger and bigger, I have a simple solution. 6 subs but can only be used for inguries or only 3 may go on the field as with football. That will force players to be fitter and last longer and in turn will force them to reduce their weight. That will in tern reduce the momentum in collisions. Fewer serious injuries. Have benches, but reduce the amount of players that can go on or only use subs on injuries. I agree with you that by forcing new tackle techniques it can bring in a new form of head injuries in lower positions. I also agree that something needs to be done about the higher and higher serious head injuries that is in the game.

    ReplyReply
    1 February, 2024 at 09:38
  3. avatar
    #6 beet

    @OudAffie (Comment #5)
    I think the potential threat of litigation if World Rugby is not seen to be doing enough to make the game safer in terms of head contact is the driving force behind changes.

    Before it became such a hot potato, I think most people were of the opinion that a tackler was at greater risk of injury than a ball carrier. Now with tacklers being forced into making compulsory low tackles, they expose their heads and shoulders to even more risk of contact with the hard bone of the legs and knees of ball carriers.

    On a slightly different note I would like to see WR bring in weight restrictions similar to tug of war competitions. So no restriction on the individual but a total weight restriction on the entire team. For this up and coming 6N, France is in a position to field the first ever 1000kg pack. And its not like these big guys are getting slower or weaker either. Not only are they bigger, they are more powerful and often quicker around the park than ever before. That can’t be safe for the game if the trend continues.

    ReplyReply
    1 February, 2024 at 09:28
  4. avatar
    #5 OudAffie

    I can understand World Rugby and National Unions always striving towards safer rugby rules, and I am for the betterment of tackle techniques to make hard collisions safer, but I think there will be alot of penalties and cards and it will kill alot of games early. Remember the last 14 years since 2009 tackle techniques have been taught to be high on the ball as to limit offloading. For 14 years all and some have known that, and now to tell them to go lower again will take time. Teams will not adapt overnight, players will not adapt overnight. Schoolboy rugby hasn’t seen much cards in games as much as pro game. I think schoolboy rugby will up the cards this year. by ALOT.

    ReplyReply
    1 February, 2024 at 08:49
  5. avatar
    #4 beet

    One of the top coaches in SBR said that its important to note that the Laws do not apply to a second tackler. So a second arriving support defender can still tackle above the sternum.

    Another with reffing experience said that refs should approach the matches with the attitude of avoiding awarding penalties or handing out cards.

    ReplyReply
    1 February, 2024 at 08:40
  6. avatar
    #3 Pamos

    @Kantman (Comment #2)
    Yes I agree, I wonder if it has been sent out to all schools and all referees. In many cases teachers and staff reff games so it will be interesting how this is blow. Big tournaments will be the best place to see how well everyone has adapted to this rule.

    ReplyReply
    1 February, 2024 at 05:32
  7. avatar
    #2 Kantman

    Refereeing is going to be chaos in the early part of the season, expect many justified outcries about decisions impacting crucial games.

    ReplyReply
    29 January, 2024 at 20:48
  8. avatar
    #1 Smallies

    Interresant dat die sogenaamde nuwe veiliger tackle laws dan presies die selfde is as wat meeste van ons geleer is as laaities ….dit gaan beslis die game meer vloeiend maak met kondisionering wat nog belangriker gaan word

    ReplyReply
    29 January, 2024 at 10:57

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