Maintaining Focus No. 3 – First Arriving Player at a Tackle

This is the third 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.3 – First Arriving Player at a Tackle” provides a learning opportunity based on the recent World Rugby pronouncements on “The Tackle Area”. The focus is on “The First Arriving Player” and his/her responsibilities. 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.


Reminder of some relevant points from LAW 15: Ruck

  • Once a ruck has formed, no player may handle the ball unless they were able to get their hands on the ball before the ruck formed and stay on their feet.
  • Players must endeavour to remain on their feet throughout the ruck.


First Player Arriving at a Tackle – Exercise 1

World Rugby Focus: i) A “jackler” is a player who wins possession of the ball before a ruck forms; ii) Reward the player who wins the race for possession; iii) Remove the concept of the jackler “surviving the clear out” by opposition players; iv) The jackler must be in a strong position to try and lift, with hands on the ball.
First Clip
Second Clip
Third Clip
Fourth Clip
Fifth Clip

First Player Arriving at a Tackle – Exercise 2

The jackler must support their body weight throughout; no going to ground and then resetting.
First Clip
Second Clip

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