A player carrying the ball drops his shoulder to try and bump a defender in front of him, looking to make a legitimate tackle, out of the way and the attackers shoulder hits the defenders head. Is that a shoulder charge? A defender looking to put a big hit on an attacker by use of a shoulder charge has a similar intention as the attacker in the scenario above, i.e. to knock the other player out of the way or stop his progress. Is one any more dangerous than the other?
Excellent point Mr T.
Are the Aussies opening up a can of worms here. The ref has now the added dilema of trying to determine if the tackler is attempting to wrap his arms around the attacker or not, another grey area. Lets just clamp down on all contact with the head, coaches will soon drill into players their responsibilities if their key men are sat in the stands all the time.
I heard on MMM Sydney radio that the Aussie report on this issue stated that:
- Of all the tackles in the NRL last year (142,000) only 0.05% were shoulder charges which equated to about 70 tackles.
- Of these shoulder charges 17% involved contact with the head.
- Less than 4% of shoulder charge tackles resulted in injury to the attacking player.
- Less than 1% of shoulder charge tackles resulted in injury to the defending player.
So the type of dangerous tackle to be outlawed contributed less then 0.01% of all tackles, around 12 a season.
In addition the report indicated that a shoulder charge can impart up to 70% more "G Force" on the body of the ball carrier than a conventional tackle.
Don't ask me how they worked all this lot out, just thought I would throw it into the debate.
"Rugby League is rugby in the simplest form in the sense that it's about great defence, great tackling technique, good handling, good passing, catching and great kicking."
Stuart Lancaster - England Rugby Union Head Coach - October 2013