The International Rugby Board has issued a statement of clarification regarding the Tip or Spear tackle.
Law 10.4(j) reads: Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.
A directive was issued to all Unions and Match Officials in 2009 emphasizing the IRB’s zero-tolerance stance towards dangerous tackles and reiterating the following instructions for referees:
- The player is lifted and then forced or ‘speared’ into the ground (red card offence)
- The lifted player is dropped to the ground from a height with no regard to the player’s safety (red card offence)
- For all other types of dangerous lifting tackles a yellow card or penalty may be considered sufficient
Regular directives to Unions, Match Officials and Judicial Officers have been issued to reinforce the IRB’s zero-tolerance stance regarding dangerous tackles and the promotion of player welfare.
The policy was again reiterated to team officials at a Team Managers seminar in Auckland two weeks before the start of Rugby World Cup and during the Tournament and there have been a number of other Tip Tackle cases at Rugby World Cup 2011.