December 16, 2020

The 42: ‘Sad and scary’ – There is only one topic on the rugby world’s mind

“It would be hard to reduce it (contact) from where it is at the moment because we don’t do a lot,” said Harlequins boss Paul Gustard.

Interestingly, Gustard explained that Quins use ProTecht gumshields, which measure the force that is exerted on players’ bodies. 

“We get a full picture of the amount of Gs a player experiences in the game, the grading of the contacts – from low, medium, to more severe – and we’re able to modify the player’s load during the week.

“This is a really neat device that allows us to track and tailor players’ workloads. We’ve had five or six guys this season where we’ve modified their week based on the information from these gumshields.”

Currently, only three of the 12 Premiership clubs are signed up to use these gumshields but it seems likely the technology will become more prevalent in the professional game.

From a player’s point of view, Care stresses that he would be willing to do anything that helps to prevent more cases like the ones we have learned about this week.

“I can only speak for me personally but if there is any way we can make the game safer, then I’m all in,” said Care. “I see first-hand the size of collisions these boys are putting themselves through, especially the big boys that are scrummaging and then getting up and running into brick wall after brick wall. 

“If there’s any way we can help limit contacts to the head or pressure to the head, then I’m all in because the last thing we want to see is more cases like Michael Lipman, Alix Popham and Steve Thompson.

“It’s sad in the game we all love to see people like that struggling at such an early age.”

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