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Defence Principles 3 and 4

Principle Three - Apply Pressure by Tackling

Principle Four - To Prevent the Attack Going Forward:


Tackle to prevent the ball carrier from going forward and to create an opportunity to regain possession.


Base tackle options on the relative sizes of the ball carrier and the tackler. If the tackler is bigger a tackle at the height of the ball can be used. The aim is to form a maul and prevent the attack releasing the ball. This will give the defence the throw in at the scrum that follows. If a turnover looks likely additional defenders may join in.

If the tackler is smaller a low tackle around the legs may be better. If the tackle is made to the upper body the ball carrier will be able to use leg drive to play through the tackle and link with support. To complete the tackle additional defenders may be needed reducing the numbers in the defence line.

Remember the numbers in defence are limited and all players must have it mind that they must complete every tackle, so more defenders don’t have to help.

A low tackle enables the tackler to get to their feet and contest the ball by “jackalling” without entering the post tackle from the defence’s side of the ball.

In order to be effective, the defence line should have reloaded after each tackle, ruck or maul, re-align and move forward together so that they are moving into their tackles stopping the attack getting over the gain line.

To prevent over commitment at the tackle each tackler must assume responsibility to complete the tackle.

A double tackle can be performed when the designated tackler goes low with the defender from the inside completing a double tackle at the line of the ball. To perform this tackle requires the first tackler to change the angle from inside out to in front, in the last few metres before contacting the ball carrier. This creates space for the second tackler to make a direct side to tackle at the level of the ball.