Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Great rugby tackling drill for kids by David Clarke

Loved this video, dying to try it out soon. Must be great for young players who are learning how to tackle.


The absolutely spot on basics of a good tackle by David Clarke

The R80 series of videos give some good technical methods and this is one of the simplest and most basic.

Watch for the boxer stance and approach and how square the tackler remains during the tackle.

Since the drill concentrates on technique, it is worth “suiting up” the tackler so he can make multiple rugby tackles.

Overall a good rugby tackling drill that is simple to set up and easy to observe for good technique.

Awesome tackle after good back play by David Clarke
September 8, 2010, 4:19 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills | Tags: , , ,

Nicole Beck, the Australian winger, tackles Fi Pocock of England into touch. The preceeding passes by England’s back set up the play nicely, but the tackle is breathtaking.

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Day eight of August pre season training tips: tackling by David Clarke

August 8


You have got to start tackling at some stage in pre season, but when? Why not work on the elements of tackling, breaking it down into component parts. Then put it all together closer to the first proper match.

If you have six sessions before your first game then try this out:
Session 1: Footwork for tackling. Working on getting correctly aligned to make front on or side on tackles. You can use touch rugby or tag rugby where the player has two hand touch or tag the ball carrier on the hips.
Session 2: Shoulders in. In a very small area, players work on their shoulder contact with the ball carrier.
Session 3: Grip work. Grip and holding onto the ball carrier. A static ball carrier is gripped and then starts to move.
Session 4: Pairs. Working together to make tackles. Low impact, walking rugby, with one player focusing on ball.
Session 5: Rough and tumble. Five metre box, 3 v 3 full contact, with a turnover and restart at the end of the box if a ruck or maul forms.
Session 6: Full tackling session.

You can revise each session at the start of the next session to build into one full session.

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Dangerous rugby tackles: get real by David Clarke
July 26, 2010, 8:18 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, rugby defence, Rugby News | Tags: , , ,

Three hours after the Jacques Fourie and Quade Cooper received yellow cards in the Australia v South Africa international, I watched one of my players being taken to hopsital after a tackle. I am happy to say the player was able to travel home that night.

Don’t be misled by the immediate reactions to the Fourie and Cooper incidents, and the Jean de Villiers and Rene Ranger tackles of the previous week. Let’s put tackling into its true context.

First, a tackle in rugby law is the only legal method of preventing the progress the ball carrier in open play. The tackle can be made anywhere on the body, but not the neck or head. The tackle must be made with the arms (hands), and the ball carrier cannot be pushed. If the legs of the ball carrier are lifted above the hips, this is judged to be a dangerous tackle.

Second, tackles are a mental tool to impose pressure on the attacking team. A strong tackle plants the seed of doubt in the mind of a ball carrier. A very physical tackle does this more. This has always been the case.

A player who is braced for a hard tackle is different to a player who is the act of passing or is twisted by a previous contact. “Tip tackles”, which are a slightly less dangerous version of the “spear tackle” are most likely on the “unaware” player. A tip tackle has the ball carrier tipped onto his shoulder, whereas the spear tackle drives the ball carrier into the ground.

Work your way through the circumstances for a tip tackle and you will see it does not need to happen. Basically it is a cheap shot. Watch the two tackles in the clip and neither are particularly aggressive tackles. The tackled player is not braced for the tackle because he has passed the ball.

Recommendation: Yellow Card
Why? Because if players know that they will spend 10 minutes in the bin for this action, then they won’t do it.
Suspensions as well?
Why not…for the same reason.

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Interesting tackling equipment by David Clarke
May 6, 2010, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, rugby defence | Tags: , ,

Could be useful!?

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Interesting rugby tackling idea by David Clarke
September 14, 2009, 7:40 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills | Tags: ,

What do we think of this? A rugby tackling aid which might just be something more than a fun roundaround toy.

I need to test one out myself.

For more details contact:

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Basics for defence by David Clarke

I have just interviewed Craig Leseberg from the ACT Brumbies. We talked about many aspects of the game and in particular defence. One of the areas he said it was essential to work on was tracking.

Here is a video explaining tracking.

More detail on the interview including some excellent insights in individual and team defence coming soon in the International Rugby Technical Journal.

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Rugby wrestling by David Clarke

I have been using a defence drill which uses some of the elements of wrestling. It follows up research I did into 600 tackles over five games and the types of tackle players perform around the ruck and scrum. To warm up I use some of the drills used in the video above.

The drill and game situation will be available in mid August as an Advanced Skills Smart Session.

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Can you live without tackle pads? by David Clarke

Coach carrying tackle pads

Tackle pads, bags and tubes all have a place in rugby training. (I am not sponsored by a manufacturer!)

But can you do a session without them? Some coaches are anti-pads. Andy Robinson MBE, the forwards coach when England won the World Cup in 2003, said to me at the time he hated them. England’s physicality in that era marked them out from other teams.

Since pads are something to run into, then that’s what players do. They are not great “avoiders” of the soft pads.

Of course, they are not to be avoid when making tackles, reducing the impact for the player, allowing greater repetition.

The trouble lies in their elasticity. Imagine how many fewer handling errors your players would make if it was a pillow they were catching and not a hard ball. A tackle pad has similar properties, allowing greater error of timing at the impact. The tackled player is not likely to have, or want to have, the same give.

You can live without tackle pads, because sometimes someone forgets to bring, you lose the key to the store room or the side cannot afford such luxuries. You can also live without them when you are training. There is some research to suggest that training aids that do not replicate the game very closely are a waste of time. (Brent S. Rushall February 1997)

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