Beaumont speaks on proposed rule change

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McGeechan, and a group of top former players including Willie John McBride, Sir Gareth Edwards, Barry John and John Taylor, were part of a group that sent an open letter to World Rugby calling for changes.  They said they were concerned because the policy of allowing substitutions had made the game 'unnecessarily dangerous'.


They wanted only four injury replacements to be allowed in games.


Beaumont told The Times that he respected the views expressed in the letter and reaffirmed that player welfare was World Rugby's priority.


However, he added a significant research project needed to be complete before consideration of changing the replacements laws.


The project was a study by the University of Bath of 2000 top-flight games around the world into the injury risk of tackles by replacements and starters.


Beaumont said: "We are trying to gather as much evidence as we can. It is important that World Rugby does not act in haste because that can lead to unintended consequences. Whatever the outcome of this research, player welfare will be at the top of the list of priorities.


Beaumont said he had the 'utmost respect' for the former players and experts who wrote the letter.


"So, I am going to meet Geech [McGeechan] and speak to him about their concerns. He is someone I have played with, who is a good friend," he said.


"Let's look at whether having so many tactical replacements has changed the shape of the game. We have to take all the stakeholders with us.


"We are not complacent as an organisation, or resting on our laurels. We want to make the game more attractive, to attract more men and women, and boys and girls, to play, and watch, rugby at all levels," he said.  


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