The front-on passive tackle can floor bigger opponents who’ve built up a head of steam. They’re likely to win the contact, so “soak up” their momentum by bringing them crashing down on your side. MORE
Tackling in pairs can be more difficult than a single tackle because it requires communication and co-ordination. I find the best way to perfect this out is to play win-win tackle games. Groups of tacklers soon work out how to make the best tackle, with both players benefiting from the other’s intervention.
Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 8-10
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-7
What to think about
All the exercises have one ball carrier and at least one support player so there is always a chance for the ball carrier to offload out of the tackle. If you have two tacklers, then you need to prevent the offload before trying to win back the ball.
One of the tacklers should target the ball, the other the legs. In the speed of the game, it is normal practice for the first player to go low and the next player to clamp on to the ball and drive the ball carrier back.
Remember the tackler who remains on his feet must release the tackled player before going for the ball again. He cannot hold on to the ball as the tackled player is taken to the ground.
- One go low, one go high in a two-player tackle.
- Prevent the offload and then go for the ball.
- Win the tackle by driving the ball carrier back.
What you get your players to do
Put two defenders in the middle of the box and pairs of attackers at either end, standing about two metres back from the box.
One pair of attackers run at the defenders, who have to prevent that attack scoring at the far end. If the attackers score, the defenders reset and the next set of attackers from the opposite end come forward. If the attackers are tackled out of the box, the ball stolen or a ruck formed, then that attack finishes, the defenders reset, and the next set of attackers come forward.
The defenders score a plus point for every attack stopped, and minus point for every try conceded. Play for 30-60 seconds and then use two different defenders.
Put pairs of attackers at the two gates (A) and (B) as in the middle picture. Put two defenders in the corner. Shout out which pair will attack. Their objective is to score at the end of the box opposite them with the two defenders coming forward to stop them.
Use the same rules as the first part of the session.
Put four attackers at one narrow edge of the box, and another set of four across a wide edge. Put three defenders inside the box of cones in the middle. Begin with the narrow group of attackers, who try to score at the far end. Use the same rules as the other games.
What to call out
- “Make the first tackle like any other tackle: low and hard”
- “Keep pumping the legs in the contact area”
- “Keep your eyes open”