Henry calls for action over danger tackles

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The Independent Online

Graham Henry is to call on the International Rugby Board to clean up rugby union at the highest level after incidents of foul play during this season's Tri Nations tournament involving New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

Henry, the New Zealand head coach, has said he wants to talk to the IRB after back-row forward Richie McCaw suffered a broken nose after being stiff-armed in the match against the Wallabies a fortnight ago.

In the same game McCaw, the New Zealand captain was also spear-tackled, but on neither occasion was the culprit punished. Then last week, against South Africa, the All Blacks fly-half, Daniel Carter, also found himself the victim of a stiff-arm tackle.

Henry said: "International rugby is the sharp end of the game. It should be a role model for everyone who plays rugby, but there have been some incidents in the Tri Nations which I don't think should be in the game.

"I intend to talk to the IRB about this. It has created frustration among our players. They've been playing under pressure to control themselves personally [on the field]. I don't think it would enhance the game if they dealt with these matters physically on the field."

Henry's indignation will bring a wry smile to the faces of the British and Irish Lions after last year's row over Tana Umaga's spear-tackle which put the tourists' captain Brian O'Driscoll out of action within 60 seconds of the Test series getting under way.

The Rugby Football Union and IRB rule- makers were locked in talks all day yesterday over whether Twickenham can implement a regulation in this season's Guinness Premiership. If during a match a team uses up its specialist front-row forwards from the bench and uncontested scrums are introduced, then the RFU wants that team to lose a further player. The talks are expected to continue today.

Newcastle Falcons' England wing Mathew Tait could be out of action for the first month of the season after injuring a knee while preparing for the Middlesex Sevens. Tait is likely to undergo a minor operation on the knee tomorrow and would therefore not be expected to return to action until October.

Lewis Moody, the Leicester and England back-row forward, misses his club's opening Guinness Premiership match of the season at home to Sale on Sunday because of an infected arm.

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