Rugby Tackle

When, where, why and how you make a rugby tackle is an important part of the game. Know what tacklers and tackled players are and what you must do.


How do you tackle in rugby?

The best way to stop the ball carrier is to get hold of them and take them to the ground - tackle them!

You must bear this in mind

  • you can only tackle the ball carrier
  • you can only tackle in the field of play
  • to be considered "tackled" the ball carrier must be held by one or more opponents and put on the ground (or on top of another player on the ground) - as little as one knee on the ground is enough.
  • ball carrier must be being held when grounded or they're not tackled

A player cannot be tackled when a maul has formed.

What you must do when you are tackled

If tackled you must immediately

  • avoid postioning your body in a way that prevents the opposition from getting possession.
  • pass the ball or release it. This may include putting it on the ground in any direction
  • get up or move away (leaving the ball where it is) or make sure you are not blocking opponents getting possession of the ball

What you must do if you are a tackler

Only when you go to ground with the tackled player are you a "tackler"

If you are a tackler you must immediately

  • release the tackled player (when they have been grounded)
  • get to your feet or move away from the tackled player and the ball

If you get to your feet, you may then play the ball. You may approach the ball from any direction in order to play it.

What if you are not involved in the tackle?

Only one player can be tackled - the ball carrier. Any number of players can be involved in taking the ball carrier to the ground - they are tacklers if they also go to ground. All the other players are "Other Players".

  • you must stay on your feet
  • you may play the ball if you are on your feet but there are restrictions on how you do it. Find out more about these situations - investigate rugby support play in the section on how to play rugby.