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'No' to bid to ban scrums and tackling from schools; Rugby.

RUGBY'S governing bodies have rejected calls from academics to remove tackling and the scrum from the schools level of the game, with World Rugby describing the advice as "extreme and alarmist".

Allyson Pollock and Graham Kirkwood from the Institute of Health at Newcastle University argue that most injuries in youth rugby occur due to the collision element of the game.

Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), they said that ministers should "put the interests of the child before those of corporate professional rugby unions".

World Rugby, who oversee the global game, reacted by issuing a strongly-worded statement disputing Pollock's position.

"The continual claims made by Pollock are not based on like-for-like injury statistics and her extreme and alarmist conclusions are simply not supported by the data," the statement read.

"For example, it is well documented that, for most sports, injury rates increase with age and yet the research quoted mixes 9-12 with 18-20 age groups.

"Contrary to Pollock's opinion, the systematic published studies where injury has been properly defined and monitored suggest the risk for pre-teens is not unacceptably high compared to other popular sports."

Pollock and her colleagues believe that removing collisions from schools rugby is likely to "reduce and mitigate the risk of injury" in pupils.

They argue that a history of concussion is associated with the "lowering of a person's life chances" across a number of measures, including low educational achievement and premature death.

Supporting World Rugby is the Rugby Football Union. Its chairman Andy Cosslett insists the risks are outweighed by the benefits to be gained from the sport while also disputing Pollock's data on safety.

"Mini and junior sections at clubs are packed to the gunnels on a Sunday morning now because they are making a decision that even though there is a bit of risk involved in this game - perhaps a little bit more than other games - the benefits for the child and the benefits and values the game stands for are worth buying into," Cosslett said.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 27, 2017
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