NZR introducing three new laws focusing on safety to be tested in school-grade rugby

School-grade rugby will test three new laws this year as New Zealand Rugby looks to make more ground in making the game safer for teenage players.

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Changes include tackles having to be made from stomach down. Source: 1 NEWS

NZR CEO Mark Robinson spoke to media this afternoon following the body's March board meeting yesterday and highlighted early on in his address that changes are coming to some age grade competitions.

"We had a full update on all the work we're doing around concussion as well as some of the work we're doing to experimental law variations for the upcoming season, especially in the teenage area," Robinson said.

"One [of the new laws] relates to tackle height. We want to see tackle heights be lowered from the belly and below."

Another law change, Robinson explained, will have players using a "split-stance" when guarding the ruck to lower the chances of the neck and spine being exposed to a hit from opposition attempting to clear a player out.

The third law also focuses on safety, but this time NZR hopes to remove the dangers of a contested high ball by one or two airborne players.

"People receiving high kicks will be staying grounded," Robinson said.

The ACC reported rugby union has had the most injury claims among common sports over the last three years, with 43,886 claims made in 2020 alone.

It's not yet known which grades will use the experimental laws.