Tackle crackdown 'has gone too far', says Scarlets boss Wayne Pivac


Scarlets centre Kieron Fonotia has been banned for three weeks

Scarlets and future Wales coach Wayne Pivac says measures to counteract dangerous play have “gone too far”.

He was responding to centre Kieron Fonotia being banned for three weeks for fending off Ospreys’ Wales wing George North in a Pro14 derby.

“We’ve got to look after people’s heads, I totally agree, but I think we’ve gone too far and I’d like to see a balance,” he said.

Pivac is frustrated that players’ intentions are not considered more.

“Away from the rugby field, if you go before the authorities for a physical act, they take into account the physical action and the intent,” said the former New Zealand police officer.

“In rugby we don’t take into account the intent.”

Samoan international Fonotia received the maximum 50% reduction on the “mid-range entry point” for the recommended disciplinary sanctions.

“The mid-section (of possible sanctions) is a serious amount of time out of the game for something which is totally accidental… I don’t think personally we’ve got this one right,” Pivac said.

The Scarlets coach is trying to change his players’ tackling techniques as a result of the tougher action on high contact.

“We’re spending a lot of time as coaches (on the issue), it is potentially changing the face of the game, body heights have to be lowered… but there’s an onus on both sides, attack and defence,” he warned.

“We’ve changed the zones that we tackle in, we’re looking for a higher percentage in the lower range (on the body).

“I’ve lost a player for three weeks, it could have been six.

“I don’t have a budget where I can just go and replace players so I have to keep my players on the field.”

Fonotia’s ban ruled him out of Scarlets’ opening European Champions Cup defeat by Racing 92 and he is again unavailable for round two at Leicester on Friday night.

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