I must admit I found the calls this week to ban tackling in schools rugby to be thoroughly disheartening. As a teacher of 20-odd years myself, I know the enormous value of coaching contact sports –not just rugby – and in my opinion the positives massively outweigh the negatives. Not just in terms of health but in terms of confidence and self-esteem.
Yes, there are risks attached to rugby. As there are with all contact sports. You will get the odd broken bone. And yes children are getting bigger and tackle techniques have changed, particularly at the elite end. The introduction of the new breakdown laws has made it even more desirable to hit squarer, chest-to-chest rather than side on.
I understand the risk of head injury. Concussion was something that, in my day, we did not fully understand and probably attached too little importance to. It is a serious issue.
But even allowing for all of…