Gareth Davies, the WRU chairman, is worried about the increasing number of serious injuries in professional rugby matches. He told BBC Wales Live that he believes limiting the number of replacements allowed in a game could help reverse the number of “nastier collisions and nastier injuries”.
How Would Fewer Subs Work
Davies explained that it substitutions were reduced, players would be forced to become lighter and faster in order to perform at the highest level for the full duration of the game. The tactical use of “impact players” would be reduced, and players would have to change not only their physicality but also their make-up and attitude. He insists that something must be done, not only for the sake of the individual players but also for the sake of the game that is at risk of facing damage to public perceptions of the sport.
Rugby has changed dramatically since turning professional. Concussion injuries are up, and there is a rise in the number of very physically large and strong players on the field at any one time. Many are being conditioned to play for only 45 to 60 minutes before being taken off the pitch, which means they can be much bulkier.
Tackles are more likely to be around the body today, which gives heads a higher chance of colliding. According to Dr Izzy Moore from Cardiff Metropolitan University, research shows that the number of concussion injuries reported is up 172% in just four seasons. With numbers so high, it is clear that something needs to be done.
Headgear has also been suggested as a possible solution to reducing injuries, though there are large numbers of people ready to resist that.
Former England and Scotland Head Coach Andy Robinson gives his opinions to The Telegraph.
Learning how to tackle properly from the outset makes some difference, though the power of the top-flight players means there is no way to prevent injury completely. All the basic rugby skills must be practised, whatever level you play at, and there is an effective rugby drill training drill video for all the basic skills from specialists like Sportplan.
Of course, rugby is a contact sport, so by its very nature there will always be some risk. Mitigating that and taking steps to reduce risk will be important.