The Intensity of Rugby Tackles: A Comprehensive Analysis of Rugby Player Impacts

Rugby is a sport known for its physicality and intense tackles. But just how hard do rugby players hit? This question has been debated by fans and players alike. In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the impact of rugby tackles and analyze the intensity of hits in the sport. From collisions during matches to the impact on player safety, we will explore the science behind rugby tackles and provide insights into this thrilling aspect of the game. Get ready to dive into the world of rugby tackles and discover just how hard these players really hit!

Rugby Tackles: An Overview

Understanding the Different Types of Tackles in Rugby

Tackle Techniques and Approaches

Rugby tackles are a crucial aspect of the game, and there are several techniques and approaches used by players to make successful tackles. The most common tackle techniques include the shoulder tackle, where the player aims to tackle the opponent around the shoulders, and the tackle around the legs, where the player attempts to trip the opponent. Players also use various approaches, such as running tackles, where the player runs towards the opponent to make the tackle, and standing tackles, where the player stays in place and attempts to tackle the opponent as they approach.

Tackle Execution

The execution of a tackle is critical to its success. A proper tackle execution involves getting into a good position, making contact with the opponent, and bringing them to the ground safely. A good tackle should also aim to minimize the risk of injury to both the tackler and the tackled player.

Tackle Follow-Up

After making a tackle, it is essential to follow up and ensure that the opponent does not get back on their feet. A proper follow-up involves holding the opponent down and preventing them from breaking free until the whistle is blown. Failure to follow up correctly can result in the opponent getting back into the game, which can be detrimental to the team’s chances of winning.

Tackle Risks and Consequences

Tackles in rugby can be risky, and there is always a risk of injury to both the tackler and the tackled player. The consequences of a poorly executed tackle can be severe, leading to injuries such as concussions, sprains, and broken bones. Additionally, tackles that are deemed to be dangerous or illegal can result in foul play and penalties, which can lead to the opposition scoring points or even being awarded a try. Therefore, it is essential for players to understand the risks and consequences associated with tackles and to execute them correctly to avoid injuries and penalties.

The Science Behind Rugby Tackles

Key takeaway: The intensity of rugby tackles is influenced by various factors, including the biomechanics of the tackle, the mental aspect of tackling, tactics and strategies used in tackling, and training and techniques used to develop effective tackling skills. It is essential for players to understand the risks and consequences associated with tackles and to execute them correctly to avoid injuries and penalties.

Biomechanics of Rugby Tackles

Rugby tackles are complex movements that involve various physiological and mechanical factors. The biomechanics of rugby tackles involves the analysis of the kinematics, kinetics, and muscle activation patterns involved in tackling.

Impact Forces in Rugby Tackles

The impact forces in rugby tackles can be divided into three categories: head and neck impacts, upper and lower body impacts, and ground reaction forces.

Head and Neck Impacts

Head and neck impacts are a significant concern in rugby due to the potential for concussion and other head injuries. Studies have shown that head and neck impacts can occur at speeds of up to 20g, which is more than twice the recommended limit for reducing the risk of concussion.

Upper and Lower Body Impacts

Upper and lower body impacts are also significant in rugby tackles. Research has shown that tacklers experience impact forces of up to 2000 N (Newtons) when making a tackle, which is equivalent to about 200 kg (kilograms) of force.

Ground Reaction Forces

Ground reaction forces are the forces exerted by the ground on the body during a tackle. These forces can be significant, with studies showing that the ground reaction force can reach up to 1200 N when a tackle is made.

Injury Risks and Prevention Strategies

Injury risks are a significant concern in rugby, and tackling is one of the most dangerous aspects of the game. Research has shown that tackling is associated with a higher risk of injury, particularly head and neck injuries.

Injury Reduction Techniques

Several injury reduction techniques have been developed to reduce the risk of injury in rugby tackles. These include techniques such as tackling lower on the body, using proper tackling technique, and avoiding head-first tackles.

Injury Prevention Training

Injury prevention training is also essential in reducing the risk of injury in rugby tackles. This includes training in proper tackling technique, strength and conditioning exercises, and injury prevention strategies such as warm-up and cool-down exercises.

Overall, the biomechanics of rugby tackles play a crucial role in determining the intensity of impacts experienced by players. Understanding these impacts is essential in developing injury reduction techniques and injury prevention strategies to reduce the risk of injury in rugby.

The Mental Aspect of Rugby Tackles

Mental Preparation for Rugby Tackles

Psychological Factors Affecting Tackle Performance

The mental aspect of rugby tackles plays a crucial role in determining the success or failure of a tackle. Several psychological factors can affect a player’s performance during a tackle. These factors include:

Anxiety and Arousal

Anxiety and arousal are closely related psychological states that can influence a player’s performance during a tackle. Anxiety can manifest as excessive worry or fear, which can lead to decreased focus and poor decision-making. Arousal, on the other hand, refers to the physiological activation that occurs in response to a challenging situation. While arousal can enhance performance, excessive arousal can lead to over-excitement and loss of control.

Confidence and Self-Efficacy

Confidence and self-efficacy are essential psychological factors that can influence a player’s performance during a tackle. Confidence refers to a player’s belief in their ability to perform well in a given situation. Self-efficacy, on the other hand, refers to a player’s belief in their ability to successfully complete a specific task. When players have high levels of confidence and self-efficacy, they are more likely to perform well during a tackle.

Mental Skills for Effective Tackling

Several mental skills can help players prepare for and execute effective tackles. These skills include:

Visualization and Imagery

Visualization and imagery involve mentally rehearsing a task before actually performing it. By visualizing a successful tackle, players can enhance their confidence and reduce anxiety.

Focus and Concentration

Focus and concentration are essential mental skills for effective tackling. Players must be able to maintain their attention on the task at hand, ignoring distractions and staying focused on the ball carrier.

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk involves using positive affirmations to enhance motivation and confidence. By using positive self-talk, players can reinforce their belief in their ability to perform well during a tackle.

Rugby Tactics and Tackling Strategies

Defensive Tactics and Tackling Techniques

Tackle Angles and Approaches

In rugby, the way a player approaches a tackle can greatly affect the outcome of the play. One common tackling technique is the “angle tackle,” where a player tackles the ball carrier from the side, aiming to disrupt their momentum and bring them to the ground. Another approach is the “tackle from behind,” where the tackler comes from behind the ball carrier and aims to wrap their arms around their torso, bringing them to the ground.

Support and Communication

Support and communication are key elements of effective defensive tackling. In rugby, teammates must communicate with each other to ensure that they are in the right positions to make a tackle. For example, a player may shout “mine” to indicate that they are going to make the tackle, or “out” to signal that the ball carrier is heading towards the sideline. Communication can also help defenders coordinate their efforts, such as when one player tackles the ball carrier and another player comes in to support the tackle.

Defensive Formations and Strategies

In rugby, defensive formations and strategies can also play a role in the intensity of tackles. For example, a “line” or “scrum” formation may involve players positioning themselves in a straight line across the field, with the aim of making it difficult for the ball carrier to advance. Another strategy is the “ruck” or “maul,” where the defending team attempts to disrupt the ball carrier by pushing and shoving, with the aim of turning the play over or forcing a penalty.

Offensive Tactics and Tackling Strategies

Breakdown and Ruck Tactics

In rugby, the breakdown is a crucial phase of the game where players from both teams contest for the ball. This is where the tackle takes place, and it is an opportunity for the attacking team to win possession. The breakdown involves several tactics, such as the clearout, where a player from the non-possessing team attempts to remove the tackled player from the ruck, allowing their teammates to compete for the ball.

Offloading and Passing

Offloading is a key tactic used by rugby players to avoid being tackled and to maintain possession for their team. Offloading involves passing the ball as soon as possible, usually to a teammate who is closer to the opposition try line. Offloading can be done in several ways, such as the pop pass, where the player passes the ball as they hit the ground, or the flick pass, where the player flicks the ball to a teammate with their foot.

Attacking Formations and Strategies

Rugby teams use various attacking formations and strategies to gain an advantage over their opponents. One common formation is the backline, where the players are arranged in a row behind the scrum-half. Another formation is the scrum, where the forwards of both teams push against each other in an attempt to gain possession of the ball. The lineout is another formation, where the forwards of the attacking team throw the ball to their teammates in the air, hoping to catch the opposition off guard.

In addition to these formations, there are several attacking strategies that teams use to score tries. One such strategy is the driving maul, where the forwards of the attacking team work together to push their way through the opposition defence. Another strategy is the counter-attack, where the team quickly transitions from defence to attack, catching the opposition off guard and creating opportunities for tries.

Overall, offensive tactics and tackling strategies are critical to the success of a rugby team. By mastering these tactics and strategies, teams can gain an advantage over their opponents and increase their chances of scoring tries and winning games.

Rugby Tackle Training and Techniques

Developing Effective Tackling Skills

Tackle Drills and Techniques

Developing effective tackling skills is crucial for any rugby player, as tackling is a critical aspect of the game that can determine the outcome of a match. There are various drills and techniques that players can use to develop their tackling skills, including solo tackling drills, tackle bag work, partner tackling drills, and tackle circuit training.

Solo Tackling Drills

Solo tackling drills are designed to help players develop their tackling technique and timing in isolation. These drills often involve a tackle bag or other tackling dummy, which allows players to practice their tackling technique without the risk of injury to a teammate. Some common solo tackling drills include:

  • Ball and man drill: In this drill, a player practices tackling a ball carrier while a teammate feints an attack. The tackler must make a tackle on the ball carrier while avoiding the teammate’s fake attack.
  • Tackle bag drill: In this drill, a player practices tackling a tackle bag, which is a heavy bag filled with sand or other weighted material. The player must practice tackling the bag while maintaining proper technique and form.
Tackle Bag Work

Tackle bag work is a type of solo tackling drill that involves using a tackle bag to practice tackling technique. Tackle bags are designed to simulate the feel and resistance of a ball carrier, and they are often filled with sand or other weighted material to simulate the weight and movement of a player.

Players can use tackle bags to practice a variety of tackling techniques, including low tackles, high tackles, and tackles around the ankles or legs. By practicing on a tackle bag, players can develop their tackling technique and learn how to execute a proper tackle without the risk of injury to a teammate.

Partner Tackling Drills

Partner tackling drills involve practicing tackling with a teammate. These drills are designed to help players develop their tackling technique in a live environment, where they can practice tackling a ball carrier while their teammate acts as a decoy or feints an attack.

Some common partner tackling drills include:

  • Tackle and support drill: In this drill, one player practices tackling while the other player provides support and clears out any potential defenders. This drill helps players develop their tackling technique while also practicing their ability to clear out defenders and support their teammates.
  • Ruck clearance drill: In this drill, one player practices tackling while the other player clears out any potential defenders and secures possession. This drill helps players develop their tackling technique while also practicing their ability to clear out defenders and secure possession.
Tackle Circuit Training

Tackle circuit training is a type of partner tackling drill that involves cycling through a series of tackling stations with a teammate. Each station involves a different tackling technique or scenario, and players must practice tackling while also running and moving around the field.

Tackle circuit training is a great way to develop players’ tackling technique while also improving their fitness and conditioning. It can be done with or without tackle bags, and it can be modified to suit different skill levels and abilities.

Overall, developing effective tackling skills is crucial for any rugby player. By practicing solo tackling drills, tackle bag work, partner tackling drills, and tackle circuit training, players can develop their tackling technique and learn how to execute a proper tackle in a variety of scenarios.

Injury Prevention and Safety

Injury Assessment and Management

Injury assessment and management are crucial components of injury prevention and safety in rugby. The first step in injury assessment is to identify and evaluate the type and severity of the injury. This involves conducting a thorough physical examination, taking into account the player’s medical history and any pre-existing conditions. Imaging studies, such as X-rays or MRIs, may also be used to diagnose the injury.

Once the injury has been identified and evaluated, the next step is to develop a treatment plan. This may involve basic first aid, such as applying ice to reduce swelling, or more comprehensive treatment methods, such as physiotherapy or surgery. In some cases, injuries may require ongoing rehabilitation to restore the player to full fitness.

Injury Prevention Strategies

In addition to injury treatment, injury prevention strategies are also important in rugby. These may include:

  • Warm-up and stretching exercises to prepare the body for physical activity
  • Proper hydration and nutrition to maintain energy levels and support muscle function
  • Use of protective equipment, such as mouthguards and helmets, to reduce the risk of head and neck injuries
  • Proper technique and form during tackling and other rugby movements to reduce the risk of injury
  • Rest and recovery time to allow the body to heal and prevent overuse injuries

Tackle Technique Corrections and Adjustments

Correct tackling technique is essential for preventing injuries in rugby. Poor tackling technique can lead to a higher risk of head and neck injuries, as well as other injuries such as sprains and strains. Identifying poor tackling techniques is the first step in making corrections and adjustments.

Coaches and trainers can assess players’ tackling technique and provide feedback on areas that need improvement. This may involve demonstrating proper technique, providing verbal cues and feedback during drills, and providing individualized coaching and feedback to players.

Identifying Poor Tackling Techniques

Some common signs of poor tackling technique include:

  • Failure to wrap arms around the ball carrier
  • Poor form and technique during the tackle
  • Over-aggressive tackling, leading to high impact collisions
  • Lack of awareness and communication during the tackle
Tackle Technique Corrections

Correcting poor tackling technique involves:

  • Emphasizing proper form and technique during tackling drills
  • Providing feedback and coaching to players on areas that need improvement
  • Encouraging players to focus on tackling safely and effectively, rather than just making the tackle
Individualized Tackling Programs

In some cases, players may require individualized tackling programs to address specific areas of concern. This may involve working with a coach or trainer to develop a tailored program that addresses the player’s specific needs and goals.

Recap of Key Points

  • Rugby tackles are an essential aspect of the game, involving physical contact between players to stop the opposing team from scoring.
  • Effective tackling techniques involve proper positioning, timing, and body alignment to minimize the risk of injury to both players involved.
  • Coaches and trainers emphasize the importance of proper tackling techniques to reduce the risk of concussions and other injuries that can result from poor tackling form.
  • Players must also learn to anticipate the opponent’s movements and use their arms and legs effectively to execute a successful tackle.
  • Tackling drills and exercises are an integral part of rugby training, allowing players to practice and perfect their tackling skills in a controlled environment.
  • The use of protective gear, such as mouthguards and headgear, can help reduce the risk of injury during tackles.
  • Rugby players must also adhere to strict rules and regulations regarding tackling, including the prohibition of dangerous tackles and the use of excessive force.
  • The intensity of rugby tackles can vary depending on the level of competition and the skill of the players involved.
  • Elite rugby players often engage in intense tackle training to improve their physicality and on-field performance.
  • Overall, proper tackling techniques and safety measures are crucial for preventing injuries and ensuring a fair and competitive game.

The Future of Rugby Tackles

Advancements in Technology and Equipment

As technology continues to advance, rugby players and coaches have access to new tools and equipment that can help them analyze and improve their tackling techniques. For example, helmet sensors can track the impact of tackles and provide data on the force and direction of the hit. This data can be used to identify areas for improvement and reduce the risk of injury.

Changes in Rugby Rules and Regulations

The rules and regulations of rugby are constantly evolving, and this can have an impact on the way that tackles are executed. For example, the introduction of the “no-arm, no-shoulder” tackle rule in 2019 was designed to reduce the risk of head injuries in the sport. This rule requires players to tackle using their arms and shoulders, rather than their heads, and has led to a shift in tackling techniques among rugby players.

Player Education and Awareness

Education and awareness are key factors in the future of rugby tackles. Players must be educated on the risks associated with high-impact tackles and the importance of executing safe and effective tackles. Coaches and trainers must also be aware of the latest research and best practices when it comes to tackling techniques, and must provide their players with the tools and resources they need to improve their skills.

The Impact on the Game of Rugby

The future of rugby tackles will have a significant impact on the game as a whole. As players and coaches adapt to new rules and regulations, and as technology continues to advance, the sport will become safer and more accessible to players of all levels. However, it is important to strike a balance between safety and the traditional physicality of rugby, in order to preserve the unique aspects of the sport that make it so beloved by fans and players alike.


1. Do rugby players hit hard?

Rugby is a physical sport that involves tackling, and it is safe to say that rugby players do hit hard. The tackles in rugby are designed to bring the opponent to the ground, and they can be quite intense. However, the intensity of the tackles depends on various factors, such as the level of play, the players’ positions, and the specific situation in the game.

2. How hard do rugby players tackle?

The intensity of rugby tackles varies depending on the situation. For example, in a professional match, tackles may be harder than in an amateur game. Additionally, the tackles may be harder when the game is close or when the teams are evenly matched. In general, the tackles in rugby are designed to bring the opponent to the ground rather than to cause injury.

3. Is rugby dangerous?

Rugby is a contact sport, and like any contact sport, it does come with some risks. However, rugby has taken many steps to make the game safer for players. For example, the rules have been modified to reduce the risk of injury, and equipment such as mouthguards and headgear are mandatory. Additionally, players are trained to tackle safely and to avoid using their heads as weapons.

4. What is the hardest tackle in rugby?

It is difficult to determine the hardest tackle in rugby, as the intensity of the tackles depends on various factors. However, some of the hardest tackles in rugby are those that involve a player being tackled in mid-air, such as when a player is attempting to catch a high ball or when a player is making a try-saving tackle.

5. Can rugby players tolerate hard hits?

Rugby players are trained to withstand hard hits, but that does not mean that they do not feel the impact. In fact, the impact of a tackle can be quite significant, and players may experience pain or discomfort after a hard hit. However, players are taught to toughen up and to play through the pain, as stopping play for every hard hit would slow down the game.

Top 10 Most Feared Rugby Players Ever | Physicality, Brutality & Aggressiveness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *