A glance back at the week that was with ANDY RUTHERFORD

A TRIAL that lowered the height at which rugby tackles could be made has been ended early because the number of concussions has gone up.

If this weren't so serious subject, this might be reason to raise a smile and say something clichéd like "you couldn't make it up".

But it is serious - and it brings home the fact that simply lowering the tackle height is not going to make the problem go away.

The trial was being carried out in England, in the Championship Cup, and players were not allowed to make a tackle above armpit level. This, depending on your general stature and chest size, is some four-six inches lower than the previous shoulder height maximum.

But those monitoring the trial found that instances of concussion rose among players tackling opponents who were bent at the waist when carrying the ball.

Whether such a body position had become more intentional, to try to make the tackler's job more difficult, is unclear. Whether tacklers were faced with limited options in stopping an opponent in that position is likely.

But what seems not to have been predicted is the effect of having to go in lower than waist height, where knees are more likely to come into contact with heads.

And even if waist height is attempted, the bent upper half of the opponent is likely to be closer to the tacklers' head.

So Championship Cup players will revert to the shoulder height tackle maximum and hopefully this will bring concussion numbers down again.

But there remain too many instances of concussion occurring in rugby, and with an increasingly speedy game and players' physiques getting bigger, surely something else needs to be tried to make the game safer?