Sunday 22 October 2017

Kiss defends choke tackle technique

Les Kiss has dismissed claims the choke tackle technique he pioneered is dangerous
Les Kiss has dismissed claims the choke tackle technique he pioneered is dangerous

Les Kiss, the pioneer of the choke tackle, has rejected Wales coach Shaun Edwards' claims the technique is "very dangerous".

Ireland assistant coach Kiss claimed Edwards was "wide of the mark" to label the ploy "a blight on the game", suggesting tackling with a bid to hold players off the ground leads to clashes of heads.

Former Australia rugby league star Kiss devised the choke tackle in 2011, where defenders wrap up attackers and hold them off the ground to form a stagnant maul that wins a turnover via the scrum put-in.

Kiss defended Ireland's right to use the perfectly-legal tactic ahead of Joe Schmidt's side hosting England in Sunday's RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam eliminator.

"Look, there has been a little bit said. I've got a lot of respect for Shaun Edwards actually but I think he's a little bit wide of the mark saying it's the cause of a lot of concussions," said Kiss.

"By virtue of the tackle itself you have to cool your jets a bit and wrap a bit more to get under the ball, so you actually have less heat in the collision to actually affect it properly.

"When you do a lot of chop tackles there's a danger there where you can get hit by knees and hips as well, so the baseline for us, we just try to coach as good technique as we can in whatever tackle we use.

"It's one of the forms of tackle we have, we try to vary it up in a tactical sense as well, and a lot of clubs and countries are using it now as an effective weapon.

"But I don't think you can overuse it, and that's where England have been quite astute as well to mix up how they do use it.

"But I don't agree that it's a dangerous form of tackle that's for sure."

The winner of Sunday's Aviva Stadium clash will take a giant step towards the 2015 Six Nations title, and wind up the only side able to complete a Grand Slam.

Ireland are unbeaten in Dublin since November 2013, while head coach Schmidt's side can equal their all-time Test record of 10 consecutive victories with another win this weekend.

Kiss has warned Ireland to beware the growing influence on England's attacking game emanating from the free-running Bath contingent currently dominating the backline.

"The England Test matches are games I absolutely love. There's a natural intensity that develops with those games and I think the reason for that is they are such a quality team," said Kiss.

"They have really built well over the last two or three years under Stuart Lancaster. He has done a fantastic job with their coaching group in the way that they have developed as a coaching team.

"You can see some real influences from different clubs coming through, the Bath influence with the three backs they have that are very, very dangerous, Jonathan Joseph, George Ford and Anthony Watson.

"They have certainly opened up a lot of width in their game.

"There's been a lot of influence from that area and they are going to be dangerous across the park."

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