Rugby: England Rugby Football Union apologises for confusion over proposed waist-down tackle limit

England's Rugby Football Union (RFU) has apologised, after its new low tackle guidelines were met with widespread criticism, adding it will conduct workshops with volunteers, players, coaches and match officials to explain the proposals.

The RFU announced last week that tackling above the waist would be banned in community rugby matches from next season to reduce head impact exposure and concussion risk.

Made amid increasing concerns about how head impact exposure and concussions affect players' health, the move would affect English clubs in divisions below the Premiership, Championship and Premier 15s.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell says the proposals could leave players "sitting ducks", while Gloucester head coach George Skivington says: "I don't think it's smart."

"The RFU Board, council and executive staff apologise for the anger and concern that has been created among the rugby community," said the RFU.

"In our desire to act quickly to reduce head impacts and concussions in the community game, which represents 99 percent of the rugby playing population in England, we have upset many of you who are the champions, volunteers, and ambassadors of our game.

"We fully acknowledge we got the engagement wrong and we are truly sorry."

The RFU says the wording it used to explain the proposals is based off a similar move in France, and acknowledged that it has "caused misunderstanding and confusion".

"We would now like the game to help us define how we describe a lower-tackle height to reflect what the research is telling us in a way that is understood by all," said the governing body.

"Consequently, the risk of head injuries should be reduced, if tackling below that optimum height.

"We will now begin a series of forums and workshops with players, coaches, match officials and volunteers to explain and develop the details of the domestic law variation."