French Rugby Federation propose tackles below waist after teenager player's death

Argentina flanker Pablo Matera is tackled during the November international series match against France, Nov. 17, 2018. ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images

The French Rugby Federation has proposed lowering the height of tackles to below the waist in response to the death of a teenage player.

Stade Francais academy flanker Nicholas Chauvin died at the age of 19 after breaking his neck in an U21 game this month, sparking a public outcry in France to improve player safety.

Chauvin was the third young player to die in the country in the last five months, leading the FFR to organise a player welfare summit in Paris to submit their ideas to World Rugby representatives.

They also called for a ban on two-player and head-on tackles, forcing players to bend before making impact.

The suggested rule changes were presented to the president of World Rugby Bill Beaumont during the summit which also involved representatives of the Ligue National de Rugby.

No final decisions were made but the head of the FFR said the meeting had been "essential" to address the issue.

"The health of our players is an absolute priority for us. Our game must evolve fundamentally and rugby must become a game of movement where avoidance overrides the impact," he said.

"For this, it is important to change attitudes and change the rules, especially on tackling.

"The FFR and the NRL have therefore proposed to World Rugby an evolution of the rules by lowering the line of plating at the level of the belt, prohibiting the two-player tackle and tackle head-to-head.

"The tackler will have to bend if he comes to tackle, at the risk of being penalized. We have also proposed to World Rugby to experiment with these new rules on our amateur competitions."