Dubai: Rugby needs an NFL-style litigation case to stop it from becoming soft, says former England utility man Austin Healey.
“The last 10 years, the game has changed driven by the prospect of litigation rather than personal safety,” he said on the sidelines of Thursday’s Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Long Lunch in Festival City.
“They talk about loyalty and protecting players but the crux of it is; all the unions, clubs and provinces need to do is make money. When has World Rugby or any of its unions ever given a stuff about its players? It never has.
“But because of what’s happened in the NFL with concussion, they are petrified that a case comes up against them that they will lose and that’s the main thing that drives them: cash.
“The unions and law makers have gone soft, I don’t think the players have, but unfortunately they are the ones that are being made to suffer.
“It’s more monotonous, there’s less space and it’s less fun,” he said of the modern game. “You end up putting a ball on the field in bubble wrap. I do worry about the future of the game.
“It’s almost like you need to have that court case and (for World Rugby) to lose in order to move on, because if you told every player there’s a good risk they’d come out of their career with a lasting head injury, there probably wouldn’t be that much of a drop off.”