I wrote last week about the different types of tackler within your team.

My personal belief is the reason most people are scared of tackling is because they have never been taught to do it correctly. This has been hampered further by thinking that there are just 3 types of tackle for them to get used to. In this first part I cover the front on tackles. There are 4 main types and almost every club I have been at or player I have taught does not know the difference between them.

Tackling front on is the bread and butter of the backs, especially 10 – 13 and also forwards in close quarters. The majority of tackles in rugby though come from a side on and diagonal position (see part 2).

Front on Tackle with Roll to the side

Back in the first tackling sessions you ever did if you went to minis or junior rugby you would have been taught this tackle. Put your head to the side of the attacker, hit with shoulder and wrap the legs. If all goes to plan you will roll on top of them and be able to jump to your feet.

This tackle is remarkably simply to do, relatively pain free and allows for the smaller guy to bring down even the biggest of opponents without too much drama. It should be the chosen tackle to use if the opponent is bigger than you or is moving at a fast speed.

Front on Crash tackle

While the first tackle is the bread and butter of rugby the “glory” comes from the crash tackle. The idea of this is to physically overpower the opponent and put him on his ass. For this to be effective you need to hit the opponents hard and drive through the player. If you can lift a leg from the floor during this process it makes it much easier.

This tackle needs aggression and a combination of strength, power and weight. Where the less weight you have the more strength / power you must exert. This tackle should be used when facing a very slow to static player. For bigger tacklers they can use it against moving opponents.

The selection between these two tackles is what causes the biggest issues in rugby defence. If you select this tackle when you should wrap and roll you will end up on your ass seeing stars. In general only the bigger tacklers in your team should try to use a crash tackle. Any weaker tacklers needs to learn then practice over and over the front tackle and roll.

Front on – High to Low

Another tackle method to use is to hit the player high up and pull the ball carrier to the floor using most of his momentum to plant him into the ground. This can be similar to jumping on him in a low pick up and go when by a ruck or more adding your weight so that he topples over, more used by say a fullback tackles a forward head on.

This tackle takes some skill to perform. If not done correctly you can run the risk of just being bounced off. This tackle should only be used against a forward moving player. Ideally the quicker he is going the easier it is to force him to lose balance.

Front on – high and hold

In many situations the idea is to hit high and hold the player up. Either to create a maul, allow another player to steal the ball from him or to prevent a try. This tackle also slows the ball down. To do this you need to hit the player high and wrap them up while keeping them from falling to the ground. This should really only be done if you have people around you to win the following maul.

Using this going forwards

The vast majority of problems in rugby tackling occur because the player is selecting the wrong type of front tackle, e.g. they are trying to crash tackle when should roll. Players should be taught the difference and everyone should be really good at wrapping and rolling. See the video below of what happens when you select the wrong tackle (Ok, to be fair not everyone has to tackle Lomu)

I will cover more on particular techniques within the tackles themselves in future posts. The main issue with the roll technique is if you do not get close enough with your head e.g. onto their body you are liable for a hand off.

Agree? Disagree? Have a thought to share? Comment below, it is always good to hear from you.