The rugby union’s controversial mandate banning tackles above the waist as part of a global court case on July 1 could eventually impact the NRL as well.
That is the view of Canterbury Bulldogs boss Phil Gould, who fears that other clash sports, such as rugby league, will not exist in the future if the Mandate changes the way rugby is played.
Responding to a tweet from retired cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams, the long-standing rugby league identity thinks it was a strange decision to introduce waist-level tackles.
‘There’s no logic. And the people making these decisions don’t want to listen,” Gould tweeted.
‘Bootsports will no longer exist in the future. “Doctors, lawyers, media, will not give up until crash sports are finally eradicated.
“I wrote this more than ten years ago. It’s happening.’
The controversial rugby mandate banning tackles above the waist as part of a global trial coming in July could eventually affect the NRL too (pictured, former cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams)
Canterbury Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould fears other clashing sports like rugby league won’t exist in future if Mandate changes the way rugby is played
Gould responded to a tweet from SBW in which the retired athlete expressed bewilderment at World Rugby’s tackle focus
In 2019, Gould took aim at the NRL’s “hysterical” HIA protocol, which he says is primarily designed to protect the game from future lawsuits.
It followed the NRL at the time launching an investigation into the Canberra Raiders after trainers failed to refer then star hooker Josh Hodgson for assessment following a heavy knock in his side’s 16-10 provisional final victory over South Sydney.
Williams, meanwhile, uploaded a vision of what he described as the “worst concussion” of his impressive sporting career to show his views.
It was during a rugby test for the All Blacks against the Wallabies – and followed a ‘low textbook’ tackle.
In the disturbing clip, the damaging winger suffered a severe concussion but after regaining his composure, he remained on the pitch for New Zealand.
Williams’ argument was that he put his body in the wrong place – because he was too low to the ground.
He fears that if tackles above the waist are eventually banned, more players – at all levels of rugby – will suffer concussions from mishandling tackles.
The 37-year-old expressed his frustration at the soon-to-be-implemented mandate to his more than 936,000 Twitter followers
Williams – who won two Rugby World Cups with New Zealand in 2011 and 2015 – received a lot of support online.
One fan opined that it will “completely change the game,” while another supporter said, “I don’t think opinions have been solicited from people playing at any level.”
The global trial will be introduced for amateur players of all ages from July 1, the Rugby Football Union [RFU] recently announced.
While Rugby Australia has previously said it does not intend to apply the same legality to play on local shores, the global governing body appears to be intent on forcing Aussie players to comply with the new restrictions.
World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin told the Sydney Morning Herald that World Rugby would follow the RFU’s lead with an above waist no-tackling trial at amateur level in a global trial from January 1, 2024.
Under the proposal, there would be some leeway in issuing warnings, but shots around the torso would result in yellow cards and high shots would result in an automatic red card.
“Yes, we’re trying to make sure we implement a lower tackle height in all areas of the game,” Gilpin said.
These sorts of textbook tackles will become questionable at amateur and junior level and could result in a yellow card
“How that is actually implemented is slightly different in the community game than in the elite game.”
While the decision applies to all levels of amateur rugby, it does not affect professional figures, including international testing.
Gilpin said the lack of amateur-level medical professionals necessitated the move.
“You’re in a slightly different environment for a number of reasons, in the elite part of the game, especially at the international level, because the level of medical facilities and diagnostic skills, for example, is very different,” he said. .
“We clearly have TV match officials, head injury assessments, the ability for immediate on-field care in all elite-level rugby that you don’t have in community play.
“We have to recognize that it’s not the same sport.”
Drew Mitchell has questioned how the new tackling rules will work, labeling the RFU’s move “dramatic” (pictured is the Wallabies’ Jed Holloway reacting after rallying the All Blacks’ Dalton Papali’i last year)
Ireland’s Johnny Sexton disagrees with the new restrictions, saying more players will be injured if wrong knees hit them on the head
Former Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell has previously voiced his objections to the rule change making its way to Australia.
‘I think it’s a bit dramatic. Nipple height was introduced a few years ago and quickly discarded. I get what they’re trying to do…but I think this one is way off and goes too far,” he said.
‘There must also be flow-through effects. If you can’t tackle anyone above waist and every attacking player has their hands free on every run … while we try to take out one thing, we open something else.’
Irish skipper Johnny Sexton has also argued against the rule change, arguing that more leg tackles would actually increase the incidence of concussions.
“You can get a knee in the head. You can get a hip in your head. Most concussions come from there,” he said.
“There was research done a few years ago and there were a lot of red cards for high tackles.
“We need to get them out of the game 100 percent, but none of them resulted in concussions… a lot of them came from the knees to the head and from the hips to the head.
“I’m not sure who made these rules, but I disagree, especially for a taller guy like me who likes to tackle hard.”