Pump the brakes, rugby fans.

You are going to need plenty of patience, as we come to grips with World Rugby's new high-tackle laws that came into effect just five days ago.

And if this weekend's action up north is any indication, we're going to have our patience tested quite vigorously.

The initial reaction, just like the initial response when these rules were first unveiled, was always going to be emotive, especially by those who feel they have been slighted by them.


But while remembering that we are looking at a very small sample size, an incident from a game between Welsh club Scarlets and Irish side Ulster gave me cause to pause.

In it, the scrum-half darts to the left-hand side of the ruck; the No.8 peels off the side and stops the halfback, who is going low for the try-line, with tackle that gets him in that grey area, across the shoulder/chin area

The ball-carrier had his head tucked down.

Under the new rulings, it was deemed a high tackle and a yellow card was issued.

And as it was foul play that prevented a try from being scored, by definition, a penalty try was also awarded.

Three things stood out for me.

First of all, based on the rules of the game, referee Marius Mitrea and television match official Carlo Damasco made the correct calls.

Secondly, the officials missed the contact to the head made by the right wing, who threw a lazy arm out and caught the Scarlets halfback with a harmless, yet relevant, slap across the face, because under the new rules, that's a yellow card too.

And finally, both players bounced up and got ready for the next play.

There was no injury on the play, not that the Scarlets medics checked their player following the high tackle, but that's another issue ... or is it?

If you are rightly going to be so strict on the issue of contact with the head, be it reckless, incidental or deliberate, then World Rugby needs to be equally as strict in the enforcing of the assessment of head knocks, which in my opinion, is not currently the case.

Yes, this is just one incident, highlighted by us media types because of the closeness of the game and the desire to show how these new rules will impact games going forward, but it did so very effectively.

I repeat, it is very, very early days and while the initial concerns of more learned rugby observers than I were realised at the weekend, let us observe and ponder for a few more weeks, thus allowing us time to make some informed, rational assessments on it.

The positive from a Super Rugby point of view is players in New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Australia will have the next six weeks, which includes training, pre-season games and the Tens in Brisbane, to make the necessary adjustments, which is far greater and more technical than the simplified view of "just tackle lower".

If only their Northern Hemisphere counterparts had been afforded the same luxury, rather than having the change thrust upon them mid-season.