Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

First Take: The message on dangerous tackles isn't getting through

Kobus van Wyk of the Stormers squares up to the Highlander's Malakai Fekitoa. Photo / Getty Images.
Kobus van Wyk of the Stormers squares up to the Highlander's Malakai Fekitoa. Photo / Getty Images.

Highlanders 28
Stormers 29

Some causes are worth continuing to fight for because the battle must and can be won. With others, it's much harder to tell.

The rugby codes are desperate to eradicate lifting tackles, the dangerous act that has had tragic consequences in the NRL this season.

Rugby: Stormers edge Highlanders in Cape Town

The message isn't getting through for now, perhaps because the technique has not always been such a hot topic and is still in players' instincts.

The Stormers landed their winning penalty against the Highlanders when replacement forward Brayden Mitchell was penalised and sin binned for such a tackle at Newlands.

The Reds also suffered at Eden Park when their front rower James Slipper was punished for a blatant tip tackle.

The Highlanders have done superbly on their South African tour, upsetting the Sharks and picking up bonus points in defeat against the Stormers.

They could have scored even better though, but for Mitchell's disregard for fellow players' safety. There is no going back. Eventually, this message will get through. It has to.

The match in Cape Town brought to mind another cause to champion - a world-class football stadium for Auckland.

There were plenty of empty seats at the Stormers-Highlanders contest. But the atmosphere was palpable in this wonderful sporting theatre, in contrast to what those of us in the TV audience witnessed from football-unfriendly Eden Park.

But it's hard to know if the Auckland stadium issue is even worth raising anymore because pleas only fall on deaf ears in the corridors of power.

- NZ Herald

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