Tackle rule changes ‘encouraging football-style Hollywoods’ at Rugby World Cup

Refs cracking down on tackles to the head is creating a scenario where opposition players use the situation to gain an advantage, says former All Black Ofisa Tonu’u.

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Jack Tame is joined by Anna Richards and Ofisa Tonu’u as they look at the scheduled final weekend of pool play, the quarter finals and Typhoon Hagibis. Source: 1 NEWS

There has been a record number of red and yellow cards at the Rugby World Cup as officials penalise potentially dangerous tackles.

But Tonu’u, speaking on TVNZ’s The Front Row today, says this is leading to some players going down easily in a style more often seen in football than rugby.

“Every time a player’s running, it is almost to the point they are setting them up, it looks like.

“And the old Hollywoods now of guys falling over, you’re talking about soccer, it is starting to come into play because if they can get that advantage, everybody’s going to try it.”

Former Black Fern Anna Richards said every team was having to adjust to the new rules.

“There’s huge scrutiny from match officials on the ground on and on TVs, they’re doing replays all the time, and it is going to be really tough.”

Both agreed the rules from the sport’s governing body aren’t going to adjust and teams will have to make sure they comply to avoid further cards.

Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tu'ungafasi were both given yellow cards for contact to the head of Namibia players in the tackle at the weekend.

And All Black coach Steve Hansen said afterwards: “It is tough, when a player is falling like that and you're committed there's going to be times when you make connection and I'm not sure how you can avoid that.

"Because if you don't use your arms then you're going to get done for a no-arms tackle."

The two yellows were fair under the guidelines teams have been given, he said.