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Courtesy BBC Sport

The ongoing debate about how to make rugby safer - apart from the concussion controversy - appeared in an intelligent and comprehensive article in BBC Sport by Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer.  The gist of the piece was to ask nine experts to choose a single change that "would help make rugby a safer sport."

Remember, that these respondents write from an empirical Great Britain perspective, professional leagues, long-standing clubs, schoolboy rugby, etc. So, not every suggestion has direct relevance to the United States.

The Nine

  1. Bring back old style rucking - Fewer big clear outs and less "jackaling."
  2. Make head guards compulsory for junior players - Protection for soft tissue and heads.
  3. Introduce "erxercise passports" for elite players - Logging players’ time and giving them protected time off.
  4. Take a two-week break after the Six Nations - Players need rest after intense competition.
  5. Increase medical resources in the women's game - Need for more fit players at the junior or lower level.
  6. Defined rest period for elite players - Use the American football model of specific amount of training, and playing.
  7. Enforce the offside law correctly - Keep defenders behind the back foot to stop them from going early or creeping up.
  8. Restrict length of schoolboy season - Cut season to allow students to play other, less contact sports.
  9. Ensure a 12-week off season for pro players - Limit games to thirty for the pros with ample time off between contests.

Many of the above nine call for specific rest periods for all.