Graham Henry backs changes to tackle rule for safety reasons

Former All Blacks coach also favours prohibiting stealing possession on the ground

 Graham Henry at aLeinster Rugby open training session at Greystones RFC, Co. Wicklow. Photograph: Inpho

Graham Henry at aLeinster Rugby open training session at Greystones RFC, Co. Wicklow. Photograph: Inpho

 

Graham Henry has lent his voice to changing the tackle rule and prohibiting stealing possession on the ground as two methods that can make rugby union a safer sport.

“I think the game is in pretty good nick,” said Henry. “The lawmakers will look at the game and say, ‘We don’t want Mummy saying Johnny can’t play so how do we de-physical the game a wee bit?’ Maybe drop the height of the tackle, maybe no hands at the breakdown. They’ve depowered the scrum so there is not the same number of injuries there, they’ve got the concussion thing sorted a lot better, so how we continue to make it a safer game is very important to the law-makers.

“Perhaps most injuries are occurring at the breakdown, with guys going over the ball who are pretty vulnerable. I think they’re looking at no-hands in that position, the (Richie) McCaw-type skill of getting over the ball will become a blow past the ball; which would make it an even quicker game which would probably suit the Kiwis.

Safer game

New Zealand

Regarding Ireland’s chances of beating the All Blacks this November, be it in Chicago or Dublin, Henry added: “Ireland teams have been hugely competitive, haven’t they? They went to South Africa and won the first test with a lot of guys not there due to injury. It will be a pretty good contest and if they take their opportunities, I remember 2013 they didn’t take their opportunities, it could happen.”

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