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The tackle

Key points for players in every tackle situation

Tackler - contact with opponent(s)

  • ‘Eyes up’ looking at the ball carrier to keep head in correct position
  • Track the movement of the ball carrier, and get the feet close enough to make the tackle
  • Prepare for contact – adopt a body position that is strong, stable and low
  • Position the head behind or to one side of the ball carrier - never position the head in front of the ball carrier
  • Use the arms to ‘wrap’ around the ball carrier
  • Release the tackled player, get back to your feet immediately and contest for possession

Ball carrier - contact with ground

  • Carry the ball in both hands
  • Protect the ball - hold it tight to your chest with elbows in to your sides
  • Make contact with the ground with the buttocks and then shoulder
  • Don’t break your fall with your hand or the ball
  • Turn towards your team and pass, place or present the ball
  • Get back to your feet as soon as possible

For specific key points, see the individual tackle types below.

Player safety research for the tackle tells us that:

  • 55-60 % of injuries in adult Rugby result from the tackle
  • Poor head position will cause head and neck injuries - in adult Rugby, 72% of all concussion injuries are sustained in the tackle, and in junior Rugby, the head is one of the commonest body parts injured
  • Collisions are 70% more likely to result in an injury than a legal tackle

The safer "Eyes Up" tackling model was initiated and promoted by Trust PA in memory of Welsh player Paul-Andre Blundell - known as P.A., of Keynsham RFC in the English South West League One, whose life it might have saved.

Trust PA is a UK spinal repair charity established in P-A's memory.