Tackles above the waist will be banned at the 2023 Rugby World Cup if a trial of new safety-focused laws are successful, World Rugby have announced.
Six new closed trials, including a reduction in the legal tackle height, have been approved by World Rugby's executive committee, with tackling the main focus of the trails in a bid to reduce head injuries.
Tackles account for 50 percent of injuries and 76 percent of concussions, according to a comprehensive evaluation by the Law Review Group.
Tackles above the shoulder are illegal in the sport, but an introduction of the trials would reduce that height to the waist and below.
"World Rugby is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring rugby is as simple and safe to play as possible for all," World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said in a statement. "While injury incidence in the sport is not increasing and concussion incidence is decreasing, we can and must do more to reduce injuries at all levels"
"Approval of these law trials represents another important step on the road to further law improvement within the next four-year Rugby World Cup cycle.
"Significantly, these trials have injury-prevention at their core, but there are also clear benefits to improving the spectacle for player, match officials and fans. I look forward to seeing them progress in closed domestic environments."
The other five closed trials approved by World Rugby include a review of yellow cards while a player is in the sin-bin and the introduction of an infringement limit for teams.
A 50:22 kick rule will also be trialed, meaning that if a team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half indirectly into touch inside their opponents' 22 or from inside their own 22 into their opponents' half, they will throw in to the resultant lineout.
World Rugby said that the rule is aiming to create space by forcing players to drop back out of the defensive line in order to prevent their opponents from kicking for touch.
Another trial will mean that a goal-line drop-out will be awarded to the defending team when an attacking player, who brings the ball into in-goal, is held up in a bid to reward good defence and promote a faster rate of play.