SBW on shoulder charge axing: It's not tiddlywinks

Sonny Bill Williams performs a shoulder charge tackle during his Bulldogs playing days. Photo / Getty Images
Sonny Bill Williams performs a shoulder charge tackle during his Bulldogs playing days. Photo / Getty Images

New Sydney Roosters signing Sonny Bill Williams has weighed in on the NRL's controversial decision to ban the shoulder charge.

The Australian Rugby League Commission outlawed the no-arms tackle last night, ruling it was too dangerous in the current game, with the increased size of players leading to an unacceptable injury risk.

The shoulder charge has been in the spotlight after a handful of tackles led to players being knocked out in the 2012 NRL in particular.

The move comes as Williams, one of the game's best exponents of the shoulder charge, returns to the NRL next season.

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The former All Blacks, who returns to league after a five year stint in rugby union, was yellow carded in the Rugby World Cup semifinal against Australia for a shoulder charge.

He tweeted his displeasure to the rule change today.

"You need good timing and technique to pull of a shoulder charge simply put if you can't do it don't try... This is league not tiddlywinks!!"

The message has been retweeted by more than 800 fans showing their support.

An ARLC review into the tackle found that while it only accounted for 0.05 percent of tackles in the season, 17 percent resulted in contact with the head of the attacking player, and 5 percent resulted in injury.

"This is about reducing a potential risk of serious injury to our players," NRL interim Chief Executive Shane Mattiske said.

New Zealand already has a domestic ban on the move in place.

Williams wasn't the only player to take to Twitter to voice his displeasure of the rule change.

Warriors' star Manu Vatuvei tweeted: "You serious about banning the shoulder charge!! That's what made the game interesting!" he wrote.

Ryan Hoffman of the Melbourne Storm added his thoughts on the social media site: "Banning the shoulder charge is going 2 result in some boring highlights packages. We run in2 people 4 a living."

New South Wales and Cronulla captain Paul Gallen told Australia radio station Triple M he was shocked about the announcement.

"When you have a look at the highlight reels they're all big hits, the fans love shoulder charges."

However New Zealand Warriors doctor John Mayhew was one who backed the move.

"I'm sure a lot of the fans are disappointed it takes an absolutely gladiatorial aspect out of the game but the injury rate in the no-arms tackle is unacceptably high," Dr Mayhew told Firstline.

"It's dangerous for players now who are very powerful missiles hitting each other with no arms - they do a lot of damage."

Dr Mayhew said removing the tackles will not change the nature of the game.
He said with one in 25 players getting injured in no-arm tackles, "common sense had prevailed".

- Herald Online, Newstalk ZB

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