Having seen the tackles in question (per the BBC link below), I have a lot of empathy for Rob Baxter’s view. Rugby used to be a game which would accommodate most body-types, with the ‘chunkies’ being forwards and the nimbler, fleet of foot, being in the backs (from 9 onwards). And, more importantly, the backs knew generally not to to mix in with the forwards, as that was a path to pain - of course it was the forwards’ job to protect their scrum-half and fly-half as the key playmakers, akin to American football.
We all know that things have moved on with, by and large, the ‘chunkies’ having got way chunkier (inc taller), as have many of the backs - not always the case, especially at #'s 9 & 10, where speed & agility and the ability to kick is needed.
I respect the need to police the game for potential injury (short and/or long term) but how is a 6’5’’ ‘chunky’ supposed to tackle someone far smaller, when the latter is the one engaging that contact, often within a fraction of a second - and in one of the instances here, very close to the try-line.
I think the ref is Ewers’ case got the decision right i.e. yellow.
The game seems to be moving to the point of waist and below tackling which, in itself, isn’t without dangers of contacting the solid pelvic area and/or getting a face full of studs - have got the T-shirt on these. Ye olde bear hug tackle appears to have had its day, bar the forwards when being in close contact.
Shame - kinda like F1 driven only on oval and straightaways to me.
Isn’t the bigger and causal issue that the game needs to re-prioritise aerobic capability and slim-down the ‘chunkies’ across the pitch (which now includes the backs) via increasing game-play times and reducing subs?