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Dealing with High Tackles

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allblacks.com     07 Mar 2017     Gettys Images

As referees our primary focus has always been player safety – protecting players from high tackles is just one area of foul play that we have to deal with and in 2017 we have been asked to focus further attention on this area due to ongoing concerns around concussion and player welfare.

So what’s new?
 Foul play is still foul play.
High tackles are still foul play, but the difference in 2017 is around ‘our tolerance and sanction’ in this area.

• A high tackle where a player is grabbed or touched high, but without any force or intent is a PK.
• A ball carrier who slips or trips into a high contact (due to his actions and not the tacklers) is still accidental foul play and a PK.
• Direct contact to the head area of the ball carrier where the defender knew what he was doing BUT there was a lack of any force or the tackle started low and rose up is a YC
• Direct contact straight to the head, with force and with intent is a RC.

So in practical terms to help you this season;

THE REFEREE HAS TO DETERMINE: 
HAS THERE BEEN FOUL PLAY? CONTACT TO HEAD? ( even if tackle starts below  the line of the shoulders - also applies to grabbing, rolling or twisting around head/neck area )

NO
= play on regardless the outcome 
YES
 = then consider in delivering the best decision: 

WHEN REVIEWING INCIDENT: 
1.Contact: Start / End up? 
2.Action: Accidental vs Deliberate and Reckless
3. Force / Speed 

See examples here