Paris – the Six Nations begins when France host Wales on Friday. A look at three current issues in world rugby.
Four French rugby deaths in eight months showed a worrying trend in rugby. Larger, stronger players and tighter defenses create an increasingly brutal confrontational sport in which injuries, especially head injuries, become more common.
Game officials, World Rugby, have tried to address renewed security concerns by reducing tackle heights.
But the introduction of the English RFU of this rule into the second-row Championship Cup, in an attempt to reduce bruising, may be causing this.
The elimination of vertical and high tackles leads to more collisions where both the tackler and the ball carrier were bent at the waist.
The problem of concussion is constantly in the news.
Former Samoa flank Under-20 Faiva Tagatauli died last week after a suspected head injury, while Springbok Pat Lambie recently retired at just 28 because of "persistent post-concussion symptoms" as a result of his time in sports.
Something has to change, not least, to continue luring the kids to the grassroots game.
World Rugby bosses are seeking to balance the sport's needs in the northern and southern hemispheres as they address concerns for players' well-being in their increasingly physical sport.
There are concerns that the international window games in July and November will not be the focus of a tournament such as the Six Nations in Europe or the Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship.
Plans for an annual 12-team competition, along the lines of the recently launched United Nations League, were debated.
The call & # 39; League of Nations & # 39; is seen as a particular potential benefit in the southern hemisphere, where rugby economies have struggled.
But there are concerns that an annual League of Nations champion could devalue the World Cup, whose latest edition takes place in Japan later this year.
The Six Nations leaders would also likely worry about their independent Championship becoming a feeder event, while any plan requiring countries to merge their broadcasting rights could face resistance from individual member unions.
All this leaves Bill Beaumont, the former England captain, in an attempt to steer a difficult path through competing interests.
It's fair to say that the bubble of Eddie Jones as England coach exploded spectacularly.
After scoring 22 wins in his 23 opening games, a time when the British won a Grand Slam and beat Australia 3-0, Jones could only look in horror when his team lost three of their last Six Nations games.
This was followed by a defeat in the series in South Africa, increasing pressure on the Australian bellicose.
By coaching a country team with most of the registered players and the best-funded national union, all eyes will be on Jones to produce the products England sees at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Jones has the shape of the Cup: he was training the Wallabies when Jonny Wilkinson's goal stole the show for England in 2003; he was part of the South African organization when he won in 2007; and who could forget the side of Japan, he led to an unprecedented three pool victories in 2015, including a first win over the Springboks?