Backlash to shoulder charge ban

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THE move to ban shoulder charges from Super League has been opposed by many within the Warriors camp.

Scrum-half Matty Smith, skipper Sean O’Loughlin and coach Shaun Wane are among those who have hit out at the move to outlaw the technique.

Friday’s World Club Challenge will mark the end of the tackle-technique under international rules – and the RFL now likely to follow suit with the domestic game.

O’Loughlin said: “It’s part of our game – I’m definitely one for keeping it. I don’t see any reason to change it.” As one of the smallest players in the Wigan squad, Smith has been targeted with shoulder charges throughout his career – but sees no need for a ban.

“For me, banning it will take away something from the game because everyone loves to see big hits, and they usually come from shoulder charges,” he said.

“A big shot can pick a team up, and adds to the excitement of the game.

“The odd one will go wrong and be high, and that’s what you don’t want to see, and I think if you do then you should be suspended.”

The NRL triggered the move by banning the shoulder charge several months ago.

And recent incidents in Super League of head-high challenges – especially by Castleford’s Rangi Chase and Catalan’s Julian Bousquet – have put the debate under sharper focus.

But O’Loughlin pointed out both of those players were banned under the current rules, deterring those who risk making contact with opponents’ heads.

He hopes the ban is limited to the international game.

Wane has also backed the technique, as long as they are “within the rules of the game”, and rising star Greg Burke Tweeted yesterday: “Disgusted that the shoulder charge has been banned worldwide.”

ROBERT Hicks will take charge of Wigan’s home clash against London this Sunday.

TICKETS for Wigan’s next away game – at Castleford on March 3 – went on sale to seasonal members today.

Any remaining from the allocation of 1,100 will go on general sale from 10am on Sunday February 24.

They are priced £19 adults and £11 concessions – £2 cheaper than the match-day admission.

Children seasonal members are entitled to free entry upon production of away junior voucher number two at the DW Stadium Ticket Office.