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Rugby Thoughts – Bans and Injuries

This week I’ll look at bans that have been handed out over the first couple of weeks in Super Rugby and how do we prevent injuries.

Bans

There have been a number of punches thrown during the first couple of rounds. Triggs picked up a 1 week ban, Franks 2 weeks and Hames 5 weeks. Whilst I know that the devil is in the detail that seems like a big range to me. Also Franks ban is only 1 game, as a development game is going to be included, how anyone can believe that an All Black would have played that game in a World Cup year?

The other thing that felt wrong were comments mentioning the impact of the card received during the game. So does the length of the ban depend on if you get a yellow or red card? Or if the card was given at the beginning rather than end of the game?

Injuries

There have been a number of high profile injuries especially concussion related ones so far in the 6 Nations. The BBC asked 9 folks how rugby could be made safer. We had the obvious one that gets trotted out, with Jonathan Davies saying bring back rucking, which is a non-starter as it got removed for safety in the first place. Next the making of head gear compulsory for kids to help prevent concussion. The problem is that head gear doesn’t do that and makes people feel invincible meaning that they take greater risks.

Then we get down to the sensible suggestions, first up Dr James Robson the six times Lions doctor. His idea is an exercise passport that records how much players play and restricts the number of games/playing minutes each player should be allowed. This is something that I totally agree with and is more practical than reducing the season. I think that there needs to be a maximum number of games and minutes, as front rows rarely play a whole game and so will rack up minutes slower. The issue is that training for games also takes it’s toll and so it’s not just playing minutes but also the number of games that matter. This is something that Matt Dawson also mentions when he says internationals should be given the two weeks after the 6 Nations off to rest. A couple of the other people asked to comment also mention compulsory rest periods for players.

The other side that I found interesting was about young players. Maggie Alphonsi mentions that overall fitness and strength is important. A schools rugby director says the season should be shorter so that players play other sports for overall development. To me they seem to be talking about similar things and this intuitively sounds more constructive than compulsory head gear.

Promotion and Relegation

The Telegraph has reported that the Aviva Premiership are considering scrapping promotional and relegation. I think that this is a bad idea, my club Exeter Chiefs wouldn’t have been able to progress into a top half of the table team if this was the case. Also most seasons relegation is one of the big stories in the league, sure London Welsh have performed poorly this season but that’s down to two issues. First the late nature of the Championship playoffs, this meant that by the time they knew they were getting promoted most of the players had decided where they were playing the following season. A lot has been made of the player turn over they had but some of that was players leaving as they didn’t know what London Welsh would be doing the following season. Secondly they don’t get funded properly. In France the promoted teams get more money than the rest of the league in England they get considerably less.

So promotion and relegation should be kept, some loss making owners should stop blaming this for their inability to run the finances of their clubs properly.

#RugbyChat

I have been hosting a Twitter chat using #RugbyChat on a Tuesday for a few weeks now and it’s been great to discuss various topics. This coming week we’ll branch out and talk about the key issues from the 6 Nations as well as Super Rugby. So if you’re on Twitter please join us for a chat, the time in different countries is below:

NZ 8pm
Sydney 6pm
South Africa 9am
UK 7am

Blogging

A big thank you to everybody who reads what I write, last Thursday was my most viewed day ever. It’s really amazing to see that I got nearly 1,500 views so thank you all again.

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