Saracens’ Mark McCall wants solution to ‘complicated’ high-tackle situation


first_imgTopics Since you’re here… Read more Black is the colour to end red-card muddle over misjudged tackles … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Rugby union: talking points from the Premiership’s weekend action If George is undertaking specialised training with his club, he will not do so with England during next week’s three-day camp in Bristol. Eddie Jones was part of the World Rugby committee that sought stricter sanctions for head injuries – introduced in January 2017 – and sits on the governing body’s law review group. “At international level we’re certainly not going to give them 101 lessons on tackle height,” he said. “They know where they’ve got to tackle and how to tackle. For me nothing has changed … The way the game is at the moment looks after the welfare of the players and they just need to adjust. We just endorse the laws 100% and expect our players to follow the laws.”Saracens host Gloucester on Sunday with Danny Cipriani making a first appearance since being dropped by Jones on Thursday. Owen Farrell comes into the Saracens side to line up directly opposite Cipriani but Billy Vunipola is absent. Saracens have said the No 8 is missing due to “a prearranged medical procedure” which is not thought to be serious.On Saturday, Willie le Roux returns from international duty to make his first start for Wasps against Sale while Kyle Sinckler is back for Harlequins’ trip to Bristol. Elsewhere, Dave Attwood and Taulupe Faletau are back to bolster Bath’s pack for the visit of Northampton. Share on Facebook The Leicester interim head coach, Geordan Murphy, has since expressed his regret at claiming the sport has gone “too PC” but does believe the ensuing debate has created a “watershed moment”. One theory gathering momentum is to borrow from Gaelic Football and introduce a black card for the offending player, who is replaced by a substitute – possibly after a 10-minute sin-bin – thereby penalising the individual but not overtly punishing his team.“It’s complicated because it’s our responsibility as coaches to technically work with our players to minimise the risk of these things happening,” said McCall. “At the same time, these things happen fast, the ball-carrier is carrying the ball at whatever miles per hour, the defender is coming off the line at whatever miles per hour, a slight movement from the ball-carrier can cause what happened and it’s really, really, really fine margins. Especially if you’re tall.“Player welfare is unbelievably important. Whether red cards are the solution I’m not sure. It’s difficult because we don’t want head injuries in the game. I just so often feel that a red card should be really, really obvious to everybody and that’s probably changing at the moment.“I understand all the issues and I don’t have any big solutions other than is there a way of punishing it in a different way that does change the behaviour of that particular player but doesn’t necessarily result in 15 against 14 every match because I don’t think anybody necessarily wants that.”Saracens, whose Premiership and European success in recent years has been based on ferocious defence, conceded a number of penalties for high tackles in their season-opener against Newcastle – Tempest was also the referee that day – and McCall revealed he has implemented tailor-made training drills to encourage his players to tackle lower. “You work on them as technically as you can,” added McCall. “You try to do that in training when they’re as fatigued as possible because that’s sometimes when things can occur.”Meanwhile, Jamie George, the Saracens and England hooker, believes he is at an advantage compared to taller teammates such as Maro Itoje and Will Skelton but acknowledges the tightrope current players are having to walk. “It is very difficult for us,” said George. “I completely agree with looking after the players but there has just got to be a bit more of a feel for it. Sometimes when a ball carrier is going low it is very hard not to make contact above the ball but we have put a big responsibility on extra tackle technique.“You have to wrap the ball, you can’t get away with not. You look at the best teams in the world, the All Blacks, us to a certain extent, Leinster, they have got the best defences and they make the most dominant tackles. We know how important the physicality side of it is. The main thing is we as players, whether we agree or disagree with what is going on, we have to adjust.” Reuse this content Share on Pinterest The Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, has suggested the introduction of a sanction in between yellow and red cards as a possible solution to the debate currently raging over high tackles.Will Spencer’s red card and subsequent four-week ban for a dangerous tackle during Leicester’s defeat by Wasps last Sunday has polarised opinion between those who claim “the game has gone soft” and others who believe the referee Ian Tempest was simply applying the law amid World Rugby’s concerted effort to reduce head injuries. Read more Rugby union Share on Twitter Saracens Support The Guardian Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp Robert Kitson newslast_img

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