Maintaining Focus No. 2 – The Ball Carrier in a Tackle

This is the second 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. 2 – The Ball Carrier in a Tackle” provides a learning opportunity based on the recent World Rugby pronouncements on “The Tackle Area”. The focus is on “The Ball Carrier” 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 14: Tackle

For a tackle to occur, the ball carrier is held and brought to ground by one or more opponents. Being brought to ground means that the ball-carrier is lying, sitting or has at least one knee on the ground or on another player who is on the ground. Being held means that a tackler must continue to hold the ball carrier until the ball carrier is on the ground.

Tacklers (in short) must: Release the ball and ball carrier when tackle has completed, move away or get up, be on their feet before attempting to play the ball and allow the tackled player to release or play the ball.

Tackled players (in short) must: Immediately make the ball available by releasing, passing or pushing the ball in any direction other than forward, move away or get up and ensure that they do not lie on, over or near the ball to prevent opposition players gaining possession of it.


 The Ball Carrier in a Tackle – Exercise 1

“Ball carrier must place or play the ball immediately – the ball carrier should not be allowed time for a second movement such as rolling, crawling, bouncing etc.”
First Clip
Second Clip

The Ball Carrier in a Tackle – Exercise 2

“When the ball-carrier’s knee touches the ground, the tackler must release immediately.”
First Clip
Second Clip

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