Rugby World Cup 2019: Owen Farrell forced to adapt tackle technique over red card fears

    Rugby World Cup 2019: Owen Farrell forced to adapt tackle technique over red card fears

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    England captain Owen Farrell has changed his tackle technique to avoid the risk of a red card at the Rugby World Cup (file photo).

    Dan Mullan

    England captain Owen Farrell has changed his tackle technique to avoid the risk of a red card at the Rugby World Cup (file photo).

    Owen Farrell, the England captain, has adapted his tackling technique amid fears that the World Cup could see a flurry of red and yellow cards following a crackdown on the height of tackles due to concerns for the safety of players.

    Farrell was at the centre of two contentious incidents during the autumn Tests against South Africa and Australia. Since then, World Rugby revised its directives as to what constitutes a legitimate tackle. The aim has been to drive down the height of contact. John Mitchell, England’s defence coach, said yesterday that there had been specialist work done on techniques with the head a “no-go” zone.

    A controversial tackle by England No 10 Owen Farrell against South Africa in 2018.

    A controversial tackle by England No 10 Owen Farrell against South Africa in 2018.

    “Owen has made some adjustments,” Mitchell said in Miyazaki, where England are based until Wednesday before flying north to Sapporo for their opening Pool C match against Tonga on Sunday.

    “John Carrington, one of our strength and conditioning coaches who is also my support in defence, is very good at the tackle technique, so they [the team] have just made some adjustments based on that. If your hand is in front of your shoulder then you’ve got a better chance of making a proper wrap tackle. If your shoulder is ahead of your hands then the law probably doesn’t look after you very well.

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    “At the back of everyone’s mind is the Under-20s world tournament, where there were a lot of cards [17 – 13 yellow

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