Rugby and high tackles


Sir, – Rugby is a tough and potentially dangerous game, but referees have a moral, as well as legal, duty to do everything they can to ensure that no young man is seriously injured as the result of actions outside the spirit of the game.

As with Alain Rolland when he courageously sent off a player for a tip tackle a few years earlier, Jerome Garces can feel betrayed by some within the rugby community who seem to adopt the approach that “their” players should be given more latitude than the opposition. This form of tribalism is doing neither the game nor the players any favours!

In relation to the high tackle, rugby existed successfully for many years without it. It is only in the short period of professional rugby that the idea of going high to prevent the tackled player from offloading the ball while being tackled has taken hold. This, in my view, has led to the current style where the game often becomes a war of attrition with victory going to the physically stronger. I believe that tighter controls on high tackles will not only improve safety but also make the game more attractive both to play and to watch.

Referees like Rolland and Garces should be praised for their courage in focusing on player welfare, instead of being criticised for picking on “our man”. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.