Maintaining Focus No.1 – The Tackler

This is the first in a series of training and development resources to help referees and referee advisors/coaches “keep their brains going” until whenever the game restarts.

“Maintaining Focus No. 1 – The Tackler” provides a learning opportunity based on the recent World Rugby pronouncements on “The Tackle Area”,  It is self-explanatory and is designed to do no more than ask members to consider issues that arise in the video clips provided by World Rugby.

It is recommended that you study the exercise clips one at a time rather than just letting them run without any analysis (don’t do too much at one go!!!!).

Please work through the questions for each clip before viewing the suggested responses in order to maximise your learning. (Click on the questions to reveal the responses.)

Clearly the clips represent what World Rugby considers to be good outcomes but there is plenty for us to understand and dissect and perhaps clarify issues we were unclear about.

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Reminder from LAW 14: Tackle

Law 14.5. Tacklers must:
a. Immediately release the ball and the ball-carrier after both players go to ground.
b. Immediately move away from the tackled player and from the ball or get up.
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The Tackler – Exercise 1

“Tackler must release”’
First Clip
Second Clip
Third Clip
Fourth Clip

The Tackler – Exercise 2

Once the tackle is complete, the tackler may contest possession, providing that the player is on their feet, has shown a clear release of the ball and tackled player and arrives from the direction of their own goal line.”
First Clip
Second Clip
Third Clip

The Tackler – Exercise 3

“The Tackler must roll away.”
First Clip
  • Q1. W13 makes the tackle and makes no attempt to roll away. The referee makes no verbal intervention. How would you assess this lack of intervention? Correct/unmanaged/unhelpful?
    Only 1.05 minutes into the game.  At this level players know the laws so non compliance can be judged to be deliberate and cynical.  The referee signals advantage for not rolling away.  However, prompt verbal management and compliance MAY have allowed rapid recycling in a very strong attacking position close to  the goal line and white in disarray.  Unmanaged, unhelpful.  Sorry Nigel.  At lower levels reasons for the decision may need to be explained.
  • Q2. The referee signals advantage. Cultural (the expected) or intelligent advantage?

    White are in disarray and clustered in a narrow area. However, given the position of the defence and slow ball, it is unlikely that real advantage will ensue for a number of phases. While this is ‘cultural’ advantage, given the early stages of the game, team strengths had not been established and so advantage may be worth a go. Alternatively, an immediate PK and with the obvious offer of a quick tap, the defence in disarray and the lure of early points on the board make the PK a better option. 

  • Q3. Yellow card? Why or why not?
    Clear cynical offence in try scoring area. Yellow card. It might be claimed that this is very early in an international to reduce a side to 14 and the defence was getting back into the game. However, the offence slowed ball to a standstill and deprived Blue of the option to use either side of the ruck.
Second Clip
Third Clip

© Manchester & District Rugby Union Referees’ Society Ltd                                                                                          June 2020