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SBD Global/October 13, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Rugby Football Union's Research Finds That New Laws Have Made Game More 'Attritional'

The "spike in the number of high-profile injuries" sustained by Premiership Rugby players could have been a result of the introduction of the global law changes, which research by the Rugby Football Union said has led to a more "attritional" form of rugby, according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. The RFU’s professional rugby department compiled the data "in response to growing concerns over the concerning trend" that has led to many clubs being "without their best players for long periods of the season." The RFU will show the new data to World Rugby, "underlining the impact" it is having on the game in the U.K. and the effect it is having on the national setup. RFU Dir of Professional Rugby Nigel Melville commissioned the "game trends summary data" in a bid to discover whether there was "any direct link between the number of injuries and the introduction of the new laws in the northern hemisphere in August." The research confirmed, however, that there has been a "major change to the way the game is being played by English clubs in direct comparison with the first five rounds of last season," including a spike of 11.4% in the average number of tackles per match (up from 150 to 167), the "area of the game that leads to the majority of injuries" (TELEGRAPH, 10/11).

PIVOTAL MONTH AHEAD: The PA's Duncan Bech reported the Rugby Players' Association "wants to implement a combined 14-week break" and preseason to protect its members from the "growing demands of the game." Next month "is shaping up to be a pivotal month in negotiations over the new global calendar." The RPA will meet on Nov. 6 to "hammer out its position" before the Professional Game Board convenes three weeks later to discuss all proposals. RPA CEO Damian Hopley has been visiting Premiership clubs to take a "temperature check of where everything is at." He insisted that the threat of strike action raised by England players Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Joe Marler and former RFU Dir of Professional Rugby Rob Andrew, "while unlikely, is an option" (PA, 10/12).
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