Watch: World Rugby Release Video Explaining New Stricter Sanctions On High Challenges


As of the 3rd of January there will now be a tougher approach to reckless and accidental head contact.

World Rugby have today released a tutorial video explaining how the new approach will work within the game in relation to reckless and accidental head contact. Rugby’s governing body released a statement back in November outlining their plans.

There are now two new categories of dangerous tackle. A Category 1 ‘reckless tackle’ where a player knew or should have known the risk to an opponents head, but did it anyway. This carries a minimum sanction of a yellow and includes tackles that start around the shoulders and neck rolls. And a Category 2 ‘accidental tackle’  where an opponent accidentally makes contact with an opponents head and includes slips. Minimum sanction is a penalty.


A statement from World Rugby, released back in November, said:

A revised sanctions table will be effective from 3 January, 2017 and will be accompanied by game-wide education of disciplinary personnel to drive greater consistency of application across multiple competitions and jurisdictions. These were recommended by representatives of the playing, coaching, officiating, media and judicial fraternity at the judicial review workshop in June this year.

This revised sanctions table will include the following:

  • Tougher sanctions for dangerous play relating to the head
  • Revision of entry points to reflect modern game
  • Minor adjustments to other entry points to make them more practical for the aggravation and mitigation element of the sanctioning process
  • Equivalent, consistent adjustments to the underage sanctions table taking into account shorter seasons and other disciplinary measures at that level


World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont at the time said:

We continue ensure that our structures reflect and support a modern, growing and thriving game by reviewing all aspects of our regulatory framework between Rugby World Cups.

We know there is increased scrutiny of rugby’s laws and regulations from fans and the media. Player welfare and upholding the values of the game are of paramount importance as we reach out to more men, women and children around the world.

I am confident that the revised Regulation 17, dealing with foul play, delivered following the full consultation of our member unions, is representative of a sport that is founded on the values of discipline, respect and integrity. It will allow for greater consistency across the board, while recognising the practical differences between elite and community rugby.

I would like to thank the unions for their full commitment and enthusiasm to a process that will deliver an enhanced and strengthened regulation that will further promote consistency, protect our players and serve the game well at all levels as the sport grows in popularity and appeal.

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