Quade Cooper calls for tackle to be banned after ‘crazy injuries’ to Wallabies and All Blacks players

Colin Newboult
Tate McDermott's hip drop tackle on Lachlan Lonergan during Super Rugby Pacific clash.

Tate McDermott's hip drop tackle on Lachlan Lonergan during Super Rugby Pacific clash.

Fly-half Quade Cooper believes that rugby union needs to follow the example set by the NRL and NFL in banning a specific tackle which is currently legal.

Brumbies hooker Lachlan Lonergan suffered a horrific ankle injury during their 20-19 victory over the Reds in Brisbane at the weekend.

Lonergan was tackled by fellow Wallabies player Tate McDermott, who produced what is called a ‘hip drop’ technique.

Being the smaller man, he put his arms around the visiting front-rower before wrapping his legs and almost tripping his opponent.

Out for significant period

That duly brought the Brumbies man to the floor but it also caused a serious injury with Lonergan set to miss the rest of the season.

Head coach Stephen Larkham was not impressed and insists that World Rugby must review that type of tackle.

“Yeah. I think it’s legal; you get your arms on first, then you’re allowed to trip,” Larkham said.

“It’s just nasty, isn’t it? There’s nothing illegal about it but obviously it’s caused a significant injury and needs to be looked into.”

Interestingly, a few days prior to the weekend’s action, Cooper had already called on the rugby hierarchy to review the hip drop.

“So now the @NFL has outlawed the ‘hip drop’ tackle which I believe the @NRL had already outlawed which imo is a great move that rugby should follow also,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“There’s a lot of focus on tackle height etc but this in particular would be welcome by most.”

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The Wallabies fly-half, who is currently based in Japan, then watched on as both Lonergan and All Blacks scrum-half Cam Roigard suffered awful injuries.

“2 crazy injuries in the last two games! Thoughts and prayers for speedy recoveries. That’s one reason the hip drop needs to be outlawed,” Cooper wrote on Saturday.

“Clearly wasn’t on purpose but it’s such a dangerous position when beaten holding on from behind.”

Larkham reiterates his view

It could just be coincidence that the weekend has seen a couple of nasty injuries occur in this fashion and that it may not happen again this season, but Larkham insists that it still needs to be looked at.

“I’d have to look at it again… but if there’s a trend going there and it’s causing significant injury you have to look at it,” he said.

“But I haven’t seen it this year in rugby and I don’t know whether Tate does it on a regular basis.”

It was particularly difficult for Brumbies scrum-half Ryan Lonergan, who saw his brother go off before the break.

“I found it pretty tough at half-time, to be honest, it was first time I could reflect on it,” he said.

“After that it goes back to doing your job. I’ll go see him (at hospital) and see how he’s doing. I’m sure he’ll get on with it.”

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