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Kearns slams “stupid” nipple-line high tackle rule

Wallabies great Phil Kearns has slammed a proposal by World Rugby that would reduce the height of legal tackles to “below the nipple line”.

Under the new interpretation, which is being trialed at the Under-20’s World Cup, the so-called ‘nipple rule’ considers any tackle where contact is made above the nipples to be a high tackle.

If successful, there is a view to potentially include the new interpretation at all levels of the game.

It is designed to reduce the risk of head injuries by changing players’ behaviour and forcing them to aim lower. The trial has drawn wide-spread criticism for being impractical for players and borderline unenforceable.

“Have you heard anything more stupid in your entire life?”, Kearns told Macquarie Sports Radio’s Cam Reddin.

Kearns says the nipple rule is “making it too hard” for players to approach a tackle so as not to break the rule, while mounting further pressure on the referees to rule on questionable contact.

“The amount of conjecture that is going to cause for players, and difficulty that is going to cause for players, is extreme,” he said.

“It’s going too far. It is ridiculous.”

Click below to hear the full interview: