We found a great video that breaks down the true art of the Rugby Tackle. This is something that many people overlook when learning the fundamentals of the sport. Football converts tend to be particularly keen at demonstrating exactly what NOT to do during a rugby tackle. In the early stages, every new player thinks the only way to tackle a larger opponent is to lunge the body head first into the other player and then expect to spring back up off the ground. We’ve noticed that these recruits tend to leave within the first few training sessions with more serious injuries than many seasoned veterans that have been playing since they were in grade school.
Just like weightlifting, there are critical steps one must take in order to keep his body free from injury. For example, when I was introduced to Power Cleans in high school football, we were instructed to do each step properly before we performed the entire lift. It was a series of lifts that gave you the final goal of the Power clean. We would start with something along the lines of 5 -Deadlift, 5 -Shrugs, 5- Hang Clean, 5- Front Squat, then bringing them all together in one fluid motion to properly execute the power clean.
In the tackle breakdown, the tackler performs the same series of movements in order to bring down the attacking ball carrier and quickly get back on his/her feet to poach the ball from the down player (who is more than likely refusing to release the ball). The defender must first get lower than the attacking player by “changing levels” (for all you wrestling converts) or dropping your hips. One technique that is taught with young players that still holds true to premier level is “grabbing grass” before you engage with the player…think of a gorilla draggin his arms. This move forces you to sink your hips and builds explosive momentum from the ground up when making your tackles. Position your head “ass to cheek” (just like it sounds) on the attacking players outside buttock using his direction to dictate where to tackle him. If the player shifts right, tackle with your right. If the player shifts left, tackle with your left. Wrap the attacking player up with both of your arms and take the attacker to the ground. The goal here is to take your opponent down to the ground while avoiding injury to yourself and others. Smashing your nose in the chest of a 225 inside center will, in fact, hurt you and your schnoz! So, lets review:
1. Change levels
2. Head ass to cheek
3. Wrap up
4. Take to ground
5. Get your ass back up and do it 40+ more times. This is Rugby!
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