Tackling in school boy rugby is a hot topic since doctors and academics called for a ban in an open letter. Local news company Sky visited St Benedict’s School last week to get their opinions on the subject and watch the Ealing boys training on the rugby field as part of a short film about the issue.
Director of Sport, Nikki Woodroffe, said: “Sky approached St Benedict’s, as a school with a strong tradition of rugby, to comment on this recent issue of tackling within junior rugby, which is classed as under eighteen. As rugby is one of our core sports, played over two terms, it is very close to our hearts and so naturally Director of Rugby, Mr James Coles and the boys were happy to comment.”
The boys were not in favour of the proposed changes: “Without the physicality rugby would change to a different sport,” one of the boys said. Another added: “We are taught to tackle safely and safety always comes first so I don’t think it’s an issue.” James Coles conceded that there is always the risk of injury but believed that the positives outweigh the negatives.
More than seventy doctors and academics are calling for a ban on tackling in rugby matches played in UK and Irish schools. In a letter, they say injuries from this ‘high-impact collision sport’ can have lifelong health effects for children. They argue that the majority of injuries in youth rugby are down to tackles and they want schools to move to touch and non-contact rugby. Supporters say rugby builds character and other forms are less challenging.