Tackling – The Issue

The arguments about last weekend’s game in Dublin have continued unabated this week.

World Rugby has weighed in saying – Malakai Fekitoa should have been red carded,

Sam Cane won’t be sanctioned and Aaron Smith should not have got a yellow card


Alain Rolland on the Smith incident –


None of the three will face France on Saturday, although Smith is on the bench.

There has been an outpouring of anger at the suggestion that the All Blacks get away with more than anyone else – and not just from the Irish media. Naturally this has been strongly refuted by the All Blacks and in the NZ press.

Interestingly the Irish coverage has not all been negative as this article from the interestingly named ‘Balls.IE’ site demonstrates –


But the best response to the aggressive nature of tackling today came from Ireland and Lions legend, Keith Wood –



His approach is not to whinge – which achieves nothing – but to tackle (sic) the issue head (sic again) on!

Former Irish skipper Keith Wood has bucked the trend in his home nation by focusing his attention in the wake of the All Blacks’ controversial victory not on the supposed borderline nature of the New Zealanders’ tackling or the injustice of referee Jaco Peyper’s on-field decisions, but on World Rugby’s contentious edict on head contact that he believes threatens to turn the game into a farce.

My view is that Wood is spot on – it’s time to stop the recriminations and deal with the real issue here.

My own view is that tackles should not be above chest high – I don’t agree with the idea that it should be below the waist (a suggestion being considered apparently). I gave my view a few days ago (‘Game Changer’).

Of all the issues facing World Rugby this, to me, seems to be the most pressing.

If last week’s game did anything it brought the issue into sharp focus.





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