Six Nations 2015: Simon Easterby rejects Shaun Edwards' claims Ireland play 'very dangerous' rugby in their use of the choke tackle

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Former Scarlets supremo Easterby was responding to Edwards' comments saying the choke tackle should be banned.

Former Scarlets boss Simon Easterby has rejected claims from Shaun Edwards that Ireland play "very dangerous" rugby in their frequent use of the choke tackle. courtesy of walesonline

Easterby, who is now forwards coach under Joe Schmidt, refused to be drawn into a war of words with Wales defence guru Edwards after comments made by the ex-Wigan man earlier this week.

Edwards called for the choke tackle – a successful tactic employed by Ireland – to be outlawed in world rugby, describing it as a “blight on the game” ahead of Wales' trip to France on Saturday.

“I think the choke tackle is very, very dangerous,” he said.

“To me, it’s a bit of a blight on the game at the moment. It encourages people to tackle high.

“I think referees should referee it as a tackle for longer.”

Edwards then asked the ranks of journalists in attendance: “Does anyone here think it adds to the game in any way, shape or form?

“Do any of you think it makes the game more exciting?”

The choke tackle - a tactic of holding an attacking player up off the ground by wrapping an arm around his neck and shoulders – is one favoured by Ireland as a means of regaining possession from opposition ball.

It's been hugely successful for Schmidt's side as well as Irish provincial giants Munster.

But Easterby denied Ireland take any risks on safety with their approach, simply replying “No” when asked if they play dangerous rugby.

"He's entitled to his opinion, but I don't want to comment on that," Easterby added, when asked for his view on Edwards' comments.

"It's a type of tackle that teams are using, just like a chop tackle is, just like an assist tackle, but I would prefer not to comment on what Shaun Edwards has said, because that's outside of this environment and I don't want to be commenting on that.

"We've got to play within the law, and as long as we're disciplined and play within the law, then that's all we can ask of the players, and that's what we'll coach time and time again.

"I really don't have an opinion on what he said."

Ireland defence coach Les Kiss pioneered the choke tackle in 2011, to capitalise on a technicality of maul laws.

The defending team attempts to hold the attacking player off the ground and hold the ball in the resulting maul - when play stagnates, the defending team win the put-in at the scrum and a turnover.

The tactic has been hugely successful for Ireland, who put it to good use to beat Wales in Dublin en route to claiming the 2014 Six Nations title.

Ireland host England in Dublin on Sunday, before taking on Wales in Cardiff on March 14.

Tag : Rugby Union
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