Fans and players are outraged the shoulder charge is to be
banned from the NRL, but team doctors have welcomed the move.
The Australian Rugby League Commission outlawed the no-arms
tackle last night, ruling it was too dangerous in the current
game, with the increased size of players leading to an
unacceptable injury risk.
The shoulder charge has been in the spotlight after a handful
of tackles led to players being knocked out in the 2012 NRL
An ARLC review into the tackle found that although it
accounted for only 0.05 percent of tackles in the season, 17
percent resulted in contact with the head of the attacking
player, and 5 percent in injury.
"This is about reducing a potential risk of serious injury to
our players," NRL interim Chief Executive Shane Mattiske
New Zealand already has a domestic ban on the move in place.
The move comes as one of the game's best exponents of the
shoulder charge, Sonny Bill Williams, returns to the NRL next
Williams, who returns to league after a five year stint in
rugby union, was yellow carded in the Rugby World Cup
semifinal against Australia for a shoulder charge.
The decision has outraged fans and players.
Warriors' star Manu Vatuvei took to Twitter to voice his
"You serious about banning the shoulder charge!! That's what
made the game interesting!" he wrote.
New South Wales and Cronulla captain Paul Gallen told
Australia radio station Triple M he was shocked about the
"When you have a look at the highlight reels they're all big
hits, the fans love shoulder charges."
However New Zealand Warriors doctor John Mayhew backed the
"I'm sure a lot of the fans are disappointed it takes an
absolutely gladiatorial aspect out of the game but the injury
rate in the no-arms tackle is unacceptably high," Dr Mayhew
"It's dangerous for players now who are very powerful
missiles hitting each other with no arms - they do a lot of
Mr Mayhew said removing the tackles will not change the
nature of the game.
He said with one in 25 players getting injured in no-arm
tackles "common sense had prevailed".