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Nigel Owens column: Rugby is at a crossroads and gamers should take private duty – Nigel Owens

There was a variety of speak about participant welfare and concussions in rugby of late.

Issues evolve over time with analysis and proof and it takes a sure interval to place element collectively.

Generally you don’t know the influence on a participant’s well being till afterward of their lives.

You’ve bought to recollect it’s a really totally different sport now to what it was 20 or 30 years in the past.

It’s a lot cleaner in a way now. You don’t see the punches coming via within the scrum anymore or gamers booted on the top on the ground, which was the fact of issues within the Nineteen Seventies.

However what you’ve gotten now could be a distinct model of sport by way of the collisions.

Once I was at school again within the Nineteen Eighties, getting rugby classes for the primary time, you had been taught by your health club instructor that you just run on the participant and also you both attempt to run round him, side-step, dummy, move, chip forward or commit him to the deal with simply earlier than you handed.

That’s how the sport was coached and performed.

At this time, you’re coached to run straight into that participant or make use of the decide and go tactic till you bulldoze your manner over the gain-line or strive line.

There was a giant rugby league affect, each in defence and assault.

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There’s much more influence within the final 20 years or so than there was within the interval earlier than that.

You’re possibly now seeing the consequences of that model of sport with gamers getting greater and stronger. Collisions are greater now than they’ve ever been.

Whenever you referee these excessive depth skilled video games of rugby, the physicality and the collisions is very large.

I keep in mind refereeing South Africa-New Zealand a few years in the past, England-France, a few of these Leinster-Munster, Ospreys-Scarlets derbies, the tackles and the hits in these video games are huge.

It’s very totally different to what it was 15-20 years in the past.

I feel the sport is at a crossroads for the time being by way of what must be achieved to attempt to transfer away from the head-on collisions, which you’re seeing a variety of.

Individuals are taught to run into gamers, we have to possibly return to attempting to beat a participant.

Consciousness has definitely been raised by way of head accidents.

I keep in mind about 10-12 years in the past we had a gathering with the top of the medical facet of issues in Australia the place he was going via the brand new protocol round HIAs.

That was one thing completely new to us.

You’ve got to grasp that rugby is a bodily sport. It all the time has been and all the time will likely be, except you need it to alter out of all recognition and change into a very totally different sport.

It all the time will likely be an influence sport, however what you wish to do is attempt to cut back the head-on collisions and return to attempting to beat males relatively than operating via them or over them.

We have to make the sport as secure as we will whereas remembering it’s a collision sport.

To be honest to the powers-that-be, they’re following medical recommendation and placing protocols in place the place anybody who’s exhibiting indicators of concussion is faraway from the pitch.

World Rugby and nationwide governing our bodies are doing all they’ll to make this glorious bodily sport we love as secure because it probably will be.

I’ve refereed video games the place a medical man has been telling a participant that he wants to return off and the participant is saying ‘no, I’m not going off, I’m nice’.

On events, I’ve stepped in and mentioned to the participant if the medical man’s recommendation is to go off then you’re going off.

The referee has the ultimate say on the finish of the day. He could make a name on security grounds if he feels a participant is wanting shaky on his toes.

I keep in mind telling a participant ‘this sport gained’t re-start till you’ve gotten left the sector’.

There must be a way of duty with the participant as nicely.

If they’re given all of the medical recommendation, then the participant must observe that.

In a single sport final season, I noticed Tom Rogers from the Scarlets take a bang in opposition to the Dragons.

He was on his knees and he mentioned ‘Nigel, I’ve had a hell of a bang on my head’.

So I referred to as for the medics to return on after which Tom went off the sector.

That participant took possession and duty, saying he was dazed and wanted to go off.

Gamers have to observe the medical recommendation as a result of it’s there for a purpose.

However I’ve refereed a number of video games the place I’ve seen gamers refuse to go off, telling the medic they’re nice, and the medics have mentioned ‘you aren’t nice, we will see by the way in which you’re operating you aren’t nice’.

You, then, as a referee need to step in and again the medics up and say ‘the medical recommendation is you allow the sector, so you allow the sector’.

You go on programs and conferences so that you’re conscious of what’s going on.

There have been instances the place I’ve seen a participant take a bang on the top and he’s out chilly, so I’ll inform the medics that after they come on and so they take away him instantly from the sector.

All people must be a part of that participant security as a result of it’s so vital.

It’s important to observe the recommendation of the skilled folks whose job it’s to advise on medical grounds.

We possibly want to have a look at the quantity of video games gamers play and I want to see a number of tweaks within the legal guidelines to cut back the quantity of collisions.

A kind of could be lowering the variety of substitutions.

I’ve been saying that for fairly a number of years now for varied causes.

It might release extra gamers to play on the subsequent degree down and it might imply gamers carrying fewer kgs of muscle, to be able to play 80 minutes of rugby relatively than 50.

That may then cut back the size of the collisions.

As I say, the sport is at an actual crossroads. We have now a variety of information and analysis to show to and it’s now about everybody shopping for into it to make sure participant security, which is completely paramount.

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