How to Rugby Tackle Everyone That Runs at You

by Siraj

Many rugby players at a young age have difficulty coming to grips with tackling strong or fast runners. This guide will detail everything you need to know to help bring down a big guy in their team.



Learn Tackle 1: You have formed a defensive line, and the ball has just come out of the ruck - you have two options.

  • Look for and follow the ball, but make sure that you stay opposite your man

  • Keep your eyes solely on the man that you are intending to tackle.


Depending on the situation, you have to make your mind up.


We now come to the contact situation.

  • When you first go into contact, the first thing you want to do is hit with your shoulder.

  • This can be difficult for tall people that are tackling smaller people.

  • But if you imagine that there is a circle around every player, you must put your foot into their circle before you make the tackle. If you don't, then the tackle that you make won't be very strong and chances are, the person that you are trying to tackle, gets away.

  • The first point of contact should be your shoulder. If you are tackling a fast person, then you should try very hard to get into their circle. When making first contact, you make the tackle with the same shoulder as the foot you put in their circle e.g., right foot, right shoulder. And after you make the tackle, you should do a motion with your legs called, leg drive. This means that as soon as you make the tackle, you keep your legs moving as if you are running flat out. This will hopefully allow you to win the contact situation.


Decide where to tackle. You should aim to hit the person around the stomach area with your shoulder and follow through with leg drive. This is really important as if you tackle too high - high tackle - penalty - possible yellow or red card. If you tackle too low then you risk getting a knee to the face. This isn't good either.


Dump Tackle. You should do exactly the same before contact "run up" as you do in the normal tackle, except that when you make contact you still lead with your shoulder, you still hit the stomach area, but after the initial hit, you pick up the players legs and lift to the side. Watch pro rugby players for actual dump tackles. The only advice I can give you for doing this kind of tackle is, be careful that you don't drop the person on their neck or head as this could result in them getting SERIOUSLY injured and/or you being sent off. You want to AVOID this at all costs so, I recommend doing a dump tackle if the person is running near to or straight at you.


Tap Tackle. When you are chasing someone, and they are to far in front for you to make a real hit on them, you can attempt a tap tackle. It sounds exactly like what it is. You dive for their feet in an attempt to tap their ankles and bring them down or make them trip. This should be used as a last resort at bringing someone down. Don't cower out of a tackle and then chase and do a tap tackle for two reasons.

  • You will look like a coward for letting them through, and you will find it harder to tap tackle than normal tackle.


  • Tackle as hard as you can and you will feel better for it.
  • Enjoy your rugby and play hard.
  • Wrap your arms around their legs.
  • Always make sure you are in the right body position to tackle.
  • Practice makes perfect! Train with a friend.
  • Straight back and shoulders ready for the impact.
  • If your approaching opponent has the ball in one hand then it is almost certain he is going to sprint hard and go into contact, so don't hesitate to tackle him!
  • Don't be afraid of tackling. It hurts more if you do it wrong.
  • The aim of tackling is to get your opponent on the ground, a player can't run without his legs. Get your head behind the legs as this will prevent a knee or thigh against your head. Tighten the legs as close to each other as possible for a perfect tackle. This tackle makes you a great defender.
  • Tackle upwards. Don't tackle towards the ground.