Super Rugby

Blackadder wants law makers to change rules



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Crusaders Super Rugby coach Todd Blackadder has called on rugby’s lawmakers to change the rules for player substitutions after his team were disadvantaged in the first round match against the Chiefs.

Blackadder’s Crusaders were beaten 21-27 by the Chiefs but Blackadder feels that in the 67th minute his team were disadvantaged by the rules in rugby.

The incident that Blackadder is referring to happened when openside flanker Tim Boys was replaced by Reed Prinsep who was almost immediately knocked unconscious following an accidental head clash .

At the time the Crusaders were trailing 21-22 and after a break of at least 10 minutes Prinsep was stretchered off (and taken straight to hospital) and the Crusaders asked to replace him with Boys but referee Chris Pollock refused saying that the law does not permit it.

At present only a player who goes off for blood or a concussion test are permitted to be replaced by another player who was in the starting XV so in this case the Crusaders were forced to bring on replacement halfback Leon Fukofuka to play in the unfamiliar position of flanker.

The Chiefs went on to score a try that sealed the result and Blackadder is not blaming the Prinsep incident for the loss but he is critical of the law which does not seem to make sense.

“I think common sense needs to prevail here,” Blackadder told the NZHerald.

“If Reed had been able to say ‘I’ve had a head knock, I need to come off for a concussion test’, we would have been able to replace him with Tim. ”

“But the fact that he was knocked unconscious meant we weren’t able to do that.

“The law needs to be amended straight away because player welfare has to come first and teams shouldn’t be penalized for players being knocked unconscious.”

The Crusaders coach added that as the law stands now is vulnerable to gamesmanship as there was nothing preventing Fukuoka from making a tackle and then complaining that he had a sore head and needed to go off for a concussion test which would have allowed them to bring Boys on.

The Crusaders host the Blues at home in Christchurch this weekend on Friday and Blackadder knows that the Aucklanders will be on a high after beating the defending champions at Eden Park.

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