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Gifford: Tackling heads for trouble

5 3 19

OPINION: Changing tackle rules may help make rugby safer. As someone who has played, watched, and loved the sport since the 1960s I hope so.

But the brutal reality is that the only sure answer to head injuries in rugby is to stop playing the game.

Any sporting contest that involves physical contact, whether rugby, league, American football, or boxing, comes with risks.

The fact is that something in the human psyche will always make some men and women want to face, and deal with, fears, by taking chances, by climbing mountains, performing two full corks with backspins on an Olympic course halfpipe, sailing single-handed around the world, or playing a game where a basic tenet is that players run hard at, and often into, each other.

* World Rugby has French blood on its hands
* 'Smash em bro' tackles scaring Kiwi kids off rugby
* England wants World Rugby to lower tackle height

Nevertheless, those no longer playing rugby owe whatever can be done to safeguard future generations of players.

At a professional level, rugby is much cleaner than it was in the sepia-toned years. Colin Meads was kicked so hard in the back of the head in a 1967 test with France he needed 17 stitches to close the wound. Nobody was........

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