High Tackle level lowered
The legal tackle height will be lowered during the Championship Cup in England this season from Shoulder to Armpit level. This 'significant' trial is run in partnership between the RFU and World Rugby after recent studies showed increased occurrence of concussion in the professional game.
In fact this was the 7th year in a row that the frequency of concussions had increased and now concussion makes up 22% of all injuries in professional rugby. This seems dramatic but there is a caveat. The increased awareness and education among players, coaches and medical staff means that a far higher percentage of concussions are now being identified correctly.
The introduction of Head Injury Assessments as well as improved education at all levels of the game has been a big step forward in identifying and managing head injuries but there is still question marks over how effective rule changes are when it comes to injury prevention.
Over the past 5 years (or so) the focus has been on using Law Changes to reduce head injuries but current statistics seem to contradict that. As mentioned the number of concussions has increased every year for the past 7 seasons and that seems to be an indicator that recent law changes are not working.
An interesting statistic that has been reported this week is that 19% of injuries to ball carriers involve concussion. Tacklers on the other hand seem to be much more exposed to head injuries with 43% of injuries to tacklers being head injury related. This would suggest the height of a tackle is not the cause of head injuries in Rugby.
In fact, I have personal experience of this after suffering a facial injury 2 years ago while in the process of making a tackle. It turns out knees and hips and very hard! There have been suggestions this week that lowering the tackle height could actually be exacerbating the concussion issue.
It is good news that the RFU and World Rugby are actively trying to improve the game (a side affect of lowering tackle heights is a faster, more flowing offload game) but are the actions really making the game safer for players? I guess this is why they run these law change trials and we will have to wait to see the results.
Preseason in Germany
For those of you who read my Blog from a few weeks ago, we at Munich Rugby Club were lucky enough to play in the German League Cup final on the 15th July. It was a great event to finish a long season but now we have the challenge of how our preseason schedule should look.
Our first game of the new season is on Saturday 8th September which is less than 8 weeks after we finished our extended cup run. This throws up some questions related to player welfare and team preparation. As a coaching team we are working on getting the right balance but certain players will need more time off than others. Hopefully the team will not be losing to much fitness over that period!
The reason the season works to this calendar is the Winter Break that we have due to the weather in the South of Germany. There is no Rugby between November-March (sometimes even later depending on the conditions). We have a longer winter break than summer break which is interesting to manage when the season runs alongside the rest of Europe from September on.
Depending on how you look at it we either have no preseason or 2 of them!
Rugby Box Latest
I spent the last week or so in the UK working on the Rugby Box. We are in discussions with some really exciting brands including Rhino, Canterbury, Optimum, Gilbert, Bulk Powders, Bulldog, Everyman Jack, Eat Natural to name a few. Our first box is going to be amazing!
We also met with Digital Reflow who are working hard on our website. First draft is looking brilliant and we are hoping to be live in August to start taking orders of our Autumn Box. Our Facebook page hit 500 followers last week and we already have close to a 1,000 online sign ups. Keep up to date at rugbybox.co.uk or find us on your favourite social network. Join Us!