Tackle Height Law Trials

Following consultation with community rugby stakeholders, Scottish Rugby’s Club Rugby Board (CRB) has approved a lower tackle height law trial for implementation across the community game, from the start of the 2023/24 season (live from July 1st 2023).

The law trial, will now see tackle height reduced from shoulder height to below the sternum, also known as ‘belly tackle’ height, in both gender categories of adult and youth rugby at the domestic level (Tennent’s Premiership and below).

The move to lower the tackle height follows World Rugby endorsed trials conducted in France and South Africa, where lowering the tackle height has been shown to reduce the number of head-on-head contacts and concussions.

Lowering the tackle height has also shown positive outcomes regarding increased ball-in-play time and offloading. The changes have also helped to increase player participation in France.

The new law trials which have been approved by the CRB are:

  • Maximum height tackle in initial contact must be below the sternum
  • The second tackler is still permitted, but the player must make initial contact below the sternum
  • There will be no change to the current laws regarding the ball carrier, but reckless play will be sanctioned (eg. leading with head) where the ball carrier put themselves or the defender at risk of a head-on-head contact

There will be no change to the current laws regarding a ‘pick and go’ scenario.

To support the implementation of the law trials, Scottish Rugby has created a ‘Tackle Height Hub’ to host a suite of video and written resources on the changes.

Tackle Height Law Trial PDF

Decision Making Framework

Head Contact Process PDF