Blues back Duffie wants high kick safety

Daniel Gilhooly
Blues fullback Matt Duffie (C-L) has questioned whether leaping for the high ball is worth the risk

Blues fullback Matt Duffie wants clarity around rugby's high ball rule, questioning whether leaping is worth the risk.

One of the best aerial exponents in Super Rugby, Duffy fell from a scary height when his legs were taken out in their loss to the Crusaders at Eden Park a fortnight ago.

Crusaders winger Manasa Mataele wasn't deemed culpable as he'd chased and contested with his eyes on the ball throughout.

However Mataele's jump height didn't match Duffy's, resulting in an awkward fall, a blow to the head and early exit from a game the Blues lost.

Duffie believes a penalty was warranted at the very least if rugby is to be serious about its aim of protecting the welfare of kick receivers.

He believes having eyes on the ball isn't a sufficient excuse for a challenging player.

"I'm not having a crack at what Manasa did but if I'm running to a contest and I just jump forward, then I know that I can quite easily disrupt a competition," Duffie told AAP.

"And what about a guy who's only got eyes for the ball but he doesn't jump at all and he takes my legs out? Is that a penalty?"

A former New Zealand AFL representative as a schoolboy, Duffie also endured a swathe of long-term leg injuries during six seasons with NRL juggernauts Melbourne Storm.

He has accepted those as part of professional sport but draws the line at anything that threatens the head and neck, leaving him with a quandary about how to deal with high kicks.

The Mataele incident wasn't the first of its kind for the 27-year-old.

"Do I jump as high as I can? Because I know a lot of the time I'm going to be clipped down in the legs," he said.

Receiving jumpers are coached to extend their leg or knee in mid-air to keep challengers at bay.

However they will be wary of getting that wrong, as Highlanders winger Tevita Nabura did when kicking Waratahs opposite Cam Clark in the head this month and copping a six-week-suspension.