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Could this be a thing of the past?

A health expert has called for rugby to be more closely regulated in schools and for scrums and tackles to be removed from the game at that level.

Allyson Pollock, of Queen Mary University of London, told the Sunday Times that schoolboy rugby players have a one-in-six chance of serious injury every season.

ESPN Scrum

“Imagine as a parent you were told that, over the course of a season, the average risk of serious injury to a player is 17%, or one in six, and that in some schools it is as high as 33%, one in three,” she told the newspaper. “The decision to allow your child to play might alter.”

In her new book – Tackling Rugby: What Every Parent Should Know – she said an injury to her own son prompted her to look into the subject, after which she stopped him playing.

She said that when she started her research she was surprised at the obstacles pout in her way. “My requests for information were polite and reasonable and I did not expect to be stonewalled,” he said. “Nor did I expect to find reluctance on the part of the authorities and government to monitor injuries, or to discover that protecting the reputation of the game had a higher priority.

“But I was mistaken on all counts. The search for truth took my colleagues and me to the heart of the rugby establishment, with its close ties to government and industry, and to the centre of Scottish medicine and the University of Edinburgh.”

Pollock’s report is backed by Pooler Archbold, consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon at Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, who said that the increasing size of younger players has contributed to the rise in injuries.

“Over the past 12 months I have seen an increasing number of schoolboy rugby players with serious injuries,” he told the newspaper. “Children are getting heavier and stronger. It is not unusual for school players to be over 100kg. Is it the smaller kids getting injured? We might find that it is 16-year-olds getting injured by 18-year-olds.”

The mother of Benjamin Robinson, a 14-year-old who died in 2011 after playing on despite a concussion, said there was a culture of bravado which made things worse. ” It’s almost like a bravery thing if you play through your injury. I think you will always come up against that attitude, whether it be from the coach or the referee.”

The RFU told the newspaper that “player safety and duty of care towards players is at the core of all the training we deliver to coaches, referees and medics” and that while there were risks “we do not believe that this is disproportionate to other sports played by young people”.

16 Responses to Calls to abolish scrums and tackles in school rugby

  • 1

    dis nie die scrums en tackles wat die probleem is nie maar die gebrek aan goeie mediese bystand langs die veld

  • 2

    1 @ smallies:
    And decent EFFECTIVE scrum coaching by people who know WTF they are doing.

    School sports, the coaches and the administration there-of gets my blood boiling.

    Especially when we have a varked up “woman” docter who’s never been in a collapsed scrum in her life, dictating to the IRB how the fuck to run their sport.

    IMO if you don’t want your kids to have scrums, fuck them off to a Rugby League club.

  • 3

    @ Scrumdown:
    ek dink hulle kan gerus hierdie bun nek skeidsregtertjies ook bietjie teen n scrum masjien saam met n pak laat werk dat hulle so n bietjie die dinamika van n scrum verstaan

  • 4

    3 @ smallies:
    100% korrek.

    Hoe die fok kan ‘n blaaser besluit wie in die voorry kak maak as hy nooit daar gespeel het nie?

    Om ernstig te wees, IMO moe telke provisiale skeidsregter ‘n skrum kursus gaan doen en fisies gaan skrum ‘n bietjie onder beheerde omstandighede.

    Dalk sal hulle dan begin verstaan wat aangaan. (Of nie?)

  • 5

    @ Scrumdown:
    veral berry en jafta

  • 6

    5 @ smallies:
    Ja maar Jafta met seisoen lank besering uit. Doen nou net TMO dienste.

    Even van die top skeidsregters soos Peyper en Joubert het nie rarig ‘n idee wat voor aangaan nie.

    Die idiaale ding sal wees dat die IRB ‘n kursus reel vir die wereld se 100 top ref’s waar van die top skrum kenners, (Balie Swart, Pieter de Villiers ens) vir die ref’s wys wat gaan aan.

    As die vaskop “so iets doen”, dan MOET die loskop “so maak” of “dit” gebeur ens.

    Ek weet dit sal nooit gebeur nie, maar dit is ‘n moontlike oplossing.

    Dit gese, ek se die selfde oor die Noordlike / Suidlike skeidsegter’s interpretasie al vir die afgeloope 10 jaar.

  • 7

    OK, Off to the Pro Shop for a few things while the sale is still on. Will hit Golfers’ Club tomorrow.

    Hope the weather improves a bit before Sunday’s 11h15 tee off.

  • 8

    I wonder what the good doctor will make of this little girl who doesn’t shy away from contact?

  • 9

    @ Scrumdown:
    I know for a fact that Balie meets with the SA referees on a regular basis to discuss and demonstrate the scrum laws. In many cases the refs are however using guesswork to make decisions.

    The problems with scrums in primary school IMO is the fact that there are fewer and fewer male teachers that are able to coach the youngsters……….let alone coaching scrums !

  • 10

    You guys have said it all. Firstly, anyone who coaches at school or any level for that matter, must do a coaching course. They must learn how to scrum, and how to teach the kids to bind, not only on the opposition props, but on your hooker etc. As Scrumdown says, the coaching needs to be upgraded drastically at all levels, including provincial and national level.

  • 11

    @ charlesm:
    Some of those boys would love to get into a scrum with some of their teachers. :lol:

  • 12

    We sit with a bunch of soft-cock parents who fret for their children, whilst the children want to play ruggas, tackle, scrum… and do the real thing!

    Leave rugby as is!!

  • 13

    9 @ charlesm:
    Unions definitely need to do more effort at school level, maybe work with department of education to do interprovincial clinics a few times a year, surely cant be too much effort.

  • 14

    Even our Springbok scrummagers, who are the best in the country, couldn’t figure out that the Pumas would do a Bajada, and got seriously stuffed up.
    So how are the kids going to learn if the Bokke don’t even learn?

  • 15

    The be honest my oldest boy played his last rugby match this year. This decision was made after one of those fat mongrels jump with his arse first on top of him while he was contesting for a ball at a tackle situation.

    We were concered that he had a vertebrae fracture. He could do no running or fast movement for 2 weeks. Rugby has become a game for the fat and oversize at the cost of real athletic ability.

    Rugby in my opinion is dying at school boy level in NZ. More and more kids are exiting the game at increasingly younger ages. Just in our region two boys ended up paralysed this year after being injured in the scrum.

    Taking contested scrums and tackles out of the game is not the solution. I would rather like to see weight brackets/divisions at all levels of the game even up to international levels. The fat mongrels can then play among themselves and the boys with real athletic ability can play some open attractive rugby. I know which divisions I’ll watch and are sure so will most other people.

    Include in that also good coaching as Scrumdown suggest and the game will come alive again.

  • 16

    @ McLook:
    I hope your son makes a complete recovery, not nice to hear of his injury.
    I thought the Kiwi schools did play in weight groups?


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