Cunningham calls for tackle ban after Percival injury

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham has called on the Rugby Football League (RFL) to outlaw the type of tackle that resulted in centre Mark Percival sustaining a serious knee injury that has ruled him out for at least 12 weeks.

Percival suffered a medial ligament injury in Thursday's 44-10 Super League loss to Salford City Reds, having been on the receiving end of a controversial yet legal tackle.

The incident, which saw Salford's Adam Walne connect with Percival's legs when his body was already being held, was reviewed by the RFL on Monday, but the contact was ruled accidental.

Though Cunningham agrees with that interpretation of the law, he wants the type of tackle banned and noted a similar example from this month involving Michael Shenton.

The Castleford Tigers captain was sidelined for the remainder of the season after being on the receiving end of one such tackle from Hull KR's John Boudebza, who was handed a four-match suspension.

"The news on Mark really isn't good; he's in a bad spot at the moment and we're not going to see him for a long time now," Cunningham told The Guardian. "Through one of these silly tackles we see happening too often in the game, he's out for three months at least - it'll be a while.

"This lies in the hands of the RFL now because in the space of two weeks we've seen two virtual season-ending injuries after Shenton's. The players have had no doing in them, so the game has got to outlaw them.

"The adding of the weight where the players swing round the back, they're the ones that get players badly injured. Unless we ban them as a game then you're going to see more and more of these injuries occur.

"It was an accident, but if players know it's not allowed then I think there would be much less of it happening."

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