Getting a concussion in rugby is serious, but rugby rule 9 aims to reduce the likelihood of this serious injury occurring. Since it is so easy to get a concussion by being tackled or lifted and thrown to the ground, rugby rule 9 is designed to minimise the risk of foul play that could lead to a concussion and serious head injury.
What Is Rugby Rule 9?
Rugby rule 9 has one basic principle, which is that any player who commits a foul play can be cautioned, suspended temporarily or sent off the pitch. There are some basic rules that all rugby players must follow under rule 9, including:
- Not intentionally obstruct or interfere with play when offside
- Avoiding obstructing or interfering with an opponent if the ball is dead
- Not running into an offside teammate intentionally to obstruct them when a ball-carrier
- Not intentionally preventing the other team from attempting or completing a tackle of the ball-carrier
- Not charge or push another player when running for the ball unless shoulder-to-shoulder
- Not intentionally stop an opponent from gaining the opportunity to play the ball (other than through normal competition for possession)
Obstruction is one of the serious actions that can cause concussions on the field, so it should be avoided except for when in fair play.
Specific Examples of Rugby Rule 9
This rule clearly states that players must not perform any acts that are dangerous or reckless to others and should not tackle opponents late, dangerously or early.
More specifically, no one is allowed to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders to help prevent head injuries from kicks to the head. Keep in mind that:
- In a ruck or maul, players are not allowed to make any kind of contact above the shoulders.
- Kicks are not allowed from the hands of the ball-carrier
- Players are not allowed to push, pull, tackle, grasp, or charge an opponent whose feet are off the ground at that time
- Players are not allowed to lift and drop other players in a way that causes their heads or upper bodies to hit the ground
Why Does Rugby Rule 9 Help?
Rugby rule 9 helps because it sanctions those who are not playing fairly. Players who are found to be unfair on the field can be penalized. A penalty is given for obstruction, for example, and repeat offences may lead to the suspension of the guilty player(s).
In elite level matches and competitions, a Head Injury Assessment may be used to determine if someone has the signs of a concussion and needs to be removed from the game. Regulation 9 states that anyone exhibiting the signs of a concussion needs to be permanently removed from the field of play and should not return on the same day. Additionally, they should seek medical care for an assessment.
A concussion in rugby may not always be preventable, but with rule 9, it’s hoped that the chances will be lessened. Those who suffer a concussion in rugby could deal with lifelong consequences, so it’s important for them to get the medical attention they need as soon as possible following an injury.