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England head coach suggests changing conversion rules in women’s game

Sport Resolutions

England head coach Simon Middleton has suggested conversion rules in women's rugby should change because of the "natural discrepancy between male and female athletes.”

The rules state a conversion must be taken in line with where the try-scorer grounded the ball behind the tryline but Middleton has suggested if a try is scored within 5m of the touchline in women's rugby, the kicker should have the option to take the kick from 10m inside the touchline to reduce the distance to the posts.

Middleton said “I just think it is a bit of an unfair game because it is so power related," said Middleton. “You want to be rewarded for good skill and I don't think they get rewarded because of physical constraints that come with what we know is a natural discrepancy between male and female athletes. I would hazard a guess that if you gave that option to most kickers in the female game they would bring it in 10m. The closer the games get, the more vital those kicks are going to be. We should be throwing things in there if we think it can improve the game.”

In the women's tournament, 46% of tries have been converted in the first two rounds, compared with 68% after two rounds of the men's event.

England captain Marlie Packer “We could score tries a bit closer to the posts. If it was to change, it would help because of the power difference between a male and female. I don't think anything is going to change overnight.” 

The Sport Resolutions Annual Conference 2023 will include the session titled “Do Women Belong in Sport” where we will be discussing sporting systems whether it’s finely tuned and optimised for men and does not cater for the physiology, anatomy and psychology of girls and women.

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