MEDIA RELEASE – 29TH AUGUST 2021 (ISSF)
Ban thuggery in 12-point Plan for Rugby’s survival
Rugby Union should not reward thuggery if it wants to turn the game into a faster and safer sport and reverse the current exodus of supporters and players.
In a radical 12-point plan to make Rugby ‘one hell of a game to watch’, the Head of the International Sports Sciences Forum (ISSF, iss-forum.net) and former Rugby International Enrique TOPO Rodriguez called for referees to stop ‘managing’ the players and the game, the laws to change to make a free-flowing game, and Chairpersons, CEOs, Captains, and all those in charge to take ‘personal responsibility’ for changing it.
ISSF has previously called on Rugby administrators at the international and national levels to ban tackles above the arm pits and strongly penalize offenders or ban them from the game because of the high incidence of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with the added long term health damages.
“Rugby is in dire straits in Australia, and it needs to be re-energised with significant change to the way its administered, played and controlled,” he said.
With more than 50 years’ experience and a veteran of 42 Tests at international level in Australia, his native Argentina, South America and Tahiti, Mr. Rodriguez said a ‘free flowing game’ of Rugby union was the only way to reverse the current exodus from the sport.
He proposes the game to be turn-around by implementing the following 12 points:
1. REDEFINE the meaning of a ‘rugby tackle’
2. No kicking at all – neither for penalties nor field goals (this point may be negotiable)
3. No TMO’s (Referee will be given full ‘discretion’ to PLAY ON!
4. No more ‘use-it-or-lose-it (This is a tactical decision left to the players from team in possession)
5. Referee, not to talk or manage (neither the players nor the game), just to enable the game
6. Referees not to coach – No instructions to the front row, or any other position (‘Technique’ is Coaches’ and players’ responsibility) – If in doubt it is either PENALTY or play on.
7. Players, including Captain and VC, not to talk, suggest, or question anything with the referee
8. BRING THE RUCK BACK
9. NO HIGH-TACKLES. These to be re-named ‘unlawful shoulder charge’. Consideration for them to be regarded as an ‘assault’.
10. The rugby tackle to be made from the waist down (as it used to be!), leading with both arms to close around the ball carrier’s body. This to eliminate leading with a shoulder and immediately stop any blows to the neck and head!
11. Players on the ground, not getting up immediately must be considered as concussed (and at risk). They must be taken immediately to a medical facility and kept out of the game for a 4-week observation period (Never any less!)
12. ‘Offenders’ to be fined ($$$) and suspended. (1st time: 4 weeks + $5K | 2nd time 12 weeks + $15K | 3rd time FOREVER and a $30K penalty
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