CALLS to ban rugby tackling in schools have been met with criticism from the school that created the game.
More than 70 doctors and academics are urging schools to not let children engage in full-contact tackles after their studies showed the risk of injuries to schoolchildren is “high and injuries are often serious”.
They highlighted how tackling can result in fractures, dislocated shoulders, and spinal and head injuries which can have long-term ill effects on children.
But Rugby School Headmaster Peter Green said: “Banning tackling in school rugby would, as rugby players of all ages will tell you, remove much of the fun from the game.
“The boys at Rugby, the school that created the game, are taught the rules and risks of contact, are watched closely by medical staff, enjoy the game and play to win. It’s the ultimate team game and is loved across the UK as the audiences for last year’s world Cup proved.”
The headmaster highlighted how rugby is a way for youngsters to let off some steam by setting physical and mental challenges.
He added: “Life is full of risks. You learn to weigh them up and manage them. Why else do people ride horses, sail boats, climb mountains, race cars?
“Our pupils love the game of rugby. They understand the risks and the benefits. And, since time immemorial, and as parents know, most boys like a scrap.”
The report arrives as the country’s Rugby Football Union is aiming to introduce rugby to a million school children across England.
The RFU’s programme has so far reached 400 schools, with 350 to follow in the next three years.
Other schools have been vocal in defending rugby tackling, saying it builds character and helps improve confidence.
Even ex-England international players have weighed in, saying tackling is the essence of the game and taking it away would ruin the sport.