World Rugby Issues New Laws To Referee’s Ahead Of Today’s Autumn Internationals
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World Rugby have issued new laws to referee’s ahead of today’s international fixtures.
Rugby’s governing body have instructed referee’s to clamp down on all contact with player’s heads that they deem to be dangerous or reckless in any way as we prepare for a feast of rugby today.
The perhaps comes in the wake of a number of dangerous tackles in recent weeks such as Joe Moody’s dangerous tip tackle on Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw which saw the New Zealand prop controversially only receive a yellow card for the offence.
They have also instructed all match officials to be “strict when it comes to tackles, charges, strikes or kicks that make contact above the shoulder line and to favour firm sanctions for offenders, up to and including red cards for severe examples”.
Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman Anthony Buchanan said:
World Rugby’s number-one priority is player welfare and the laws of the game clearly state that the necks and heads of players are sacrosanct.
When it comes to foul play, the game is cleaner now than ever before but, as referees, we must constantly be alert to head-high hits.
By taking this strong approach, we are saying to players that tackling an opponent above the shoulder line will not go unpunished.
In addition, while striking or kicking an opponent is never acceptable, it is a more serious offence when it involves contact with the head or neck.
Even ball-carriers must be careful that they fend off tacklers legally and do not strike opponents with forearms or elbows.
While this specific directive is going out to match officials at the elite international grade, we are reminding all unions and referee societies at every level of rugby to take note and strictly enforce current law in this important area.
On a side note all officials have also been instructed to be aware of any players standing ahead of the hindmost foot at rucks, and obstructing opponents from moving forwards and to clamp down if it occurs. This would prevent any player’s from forming a screen in front of the halfback, blocking any incoming defenders.