Ireland captain Johnny Sexton joins chorus of critics panning RFU’s tackle height change

Disagreement: Johnny Sexton is opposed to the RFU’s plans to lower the tackle height to waist level (AFP via Getty Images)
Disagreement: Johnny Sexton is opposed to the RFU’s plans to lower the tackle height to waist level (AFP via Getty Images)

Jonny Sexton has criticised RFU plans to lower the tackle height to waist level for the community game from next season.

The RFU has moved to impose a waist-high limit on tackling from the 2023-24 campaign for level three downwards, in a decision that has immediately polarised opinion.

Irish chiefs could look at following suit in the community game, but Ireland Test captain Sexton insisted the move has no sympathy for rugby dynamics.

“I don’t agree with it, there’s no point sitting on the fence is there,” said Sexton. “You’ve got tall people who play the game, it should be their decision on how to tackle.

“The tackles we really need to take out of the game are the reckless, sprinting out of the line, not wrapping arms.

“It should be an option to tackle a bit higher. It’s not like you can’t get concussed chopping someone’s knees.”

Ireland skipper Sexton suffered a broken cheekbone at the start of the month but has undergone surgery and made a rapid recovery.

The 37-year-old fly-half will be available for Ireland’s Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on February 4 – and revealed he always expected to be fit in time.

“I’m good to go, I was training last week, I just had a face mask on,” said Sexton. “I’ll keep that on in training this week, then that comes off next week.

“From day one the doctors and the surgeons all said it would be okay. They said that’s probably the best injury to have in your face, if you had to break one bone, that's the bone.”