There are many elements to a rugby game and, this week, we look at a few more tackles every rugby player needs to know in order to have a successful and safe match. Tackles can seem daunting to younger players, but once they have the basics down, their confidence is often boosted.
FRONT-ON TACKLE WITH ROLL TO SIDE
A basic tackle, taught to junior rugby players, in order to ground players of all sizes. The tackler will place his head on one side of the attacker, hit them with his shoulder and wrap his arms around the attacker’s legs. The tackler should be able to roll on top of the attacker and get up relatively quickly. This simple tackle allows for a smaller player to able to bring down a bigger player without much pain or complexity. For smaller boys, this should be the chosen tackle if their opponent is bigger than they are.
When timed correctly, the tackler can use this tackle to prevent chasing the ball-carrier down the field. The tackler must keep his eye on the ball carrier, with their head up and their back straight. Once the ball-carrier is near, the tackler’s head should be placed behind the ball carrier’s legs, with their cheek against the buttock of the ball carrier to avoid a knee to the face. Both arms can now be wrapped around the thighs of the ball carrier, and the tackler must use his legs to drive the ball-carrier up and over in order to fall on top of him. The tackler needs to keep a tight grip on the ball-carrier while tackling; otherwise the ball-carrier may be able to push through the tackle. When successfully completed, the opposition’s attack will be slowed down.
NOTES TO COACHES
- The most important aspect to these tackles is timing. Players will be tackling ball-carriers who are running at high speeds, so it is important to teach them to time their tackle correctly – if they wait for too long, they may end up diving onto the opponent’s boots which can be painful and cause an injury. For the Standing Side Tackle, it is important to make sure the tackler is focusing on aiming for the thighs of his opponent.
- If you notice that players are different in their tackling skill-sets, divide them into groups so that their abilities develop at the pace of their individual needs. Rugby drills should not be set up in a way that makes weaker players feel embarrassed about their abilities – if a player is stressed, they are less likely to be able to achieve success in the game.
- For some younger players, tackling is the hardest rugby skill to master and it is of the utmost importance that coaches put them at ease during practice. Be patient with them and use stimulating, skill-orientated drills to build up their confidence and abilities. To make sure the players are strong tacklers, make them practice on both sides – i.e. tackling with the right shoulder and then the left shoulder.