11 Nov 2020

All Blacks centurion: Don't change tackle laws

5:59 am on 11 November 2020

Veteran All Black lock Sam Whitelock is adamant the high tackle rules don't need to be changed.

Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett and Jack Goodhue on the bench as the All Blacks lose to England.

Sam Whitelock (L). Photo: Photosport

He believes it's the players that need to adapt.

Whitelock was on the receiving end of a high shot from the Wallabies forward Lachlan Swinton in last weekend's loss to Australia in Brisbane, for which Swinton copped a four match ban.

Swinton will miss the remainder of the Tri- Nations for the red card offence.

The All Blacks prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi was also sent off for a similar tackle on Wallabies winger Tom Wright, and while his case at the judiciary has yet to be decided, he's likely to be ruled out of their match against Argentina in Sydney on Saturday night.

World Rugby have clamped down hard on any tackles above chest height, particularly if they make first contact with the head.

Some former and current players would like the red cards to be abolished with an NRL like report system introduced, leaving a send-off for pre-meditated foul play.

However Whitelock disagrees.

"Personally, it doesn't matter how it's reffed or ruled, as long as it's consistent from the referee and judiciary," said Whitelock, who was sporting a black eye, although said it wasn't from Swinton's high tackle.

"Our job as players is to make sure we train and learn what we can and can't do, so if it's lowering our tackle height, if it's wrapping our arms in a tackle, it all goes from there.

"We can't worry about that ... we're rugby players who are out there to play rugby."

All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree echoed those sentiments.

"I know there's been a bit of a noise about it after the weekend but the rules say what foul play is and we've got an obligation to make sure that players are safe," Plumtree said.

"When we're coaching our players, individually and collectively, we're always talking about body height and making sure that in contact that we do the right thing and target the right areas.

"At times players are going to get that wrong under pressure and we saw that on the weekend."