This is the de facto method to tackle someone in rugby and, for that matter, any situation (sporting or otherwise) where padding and protection is not involved.

  1. Run at your target. The faster you are moving, the easier it will be to tackle, but the more difficult it will be to change direction to compensate for a last moment evasive tactic by your target. So do not run at top speed.
  2. Track your target's chest. If your target tries a deke, then the head, the arms, and the legs may lie about the target's intended direction. The chest will indicate the true trajectory of the target.
  3. A second or so before contact, decide which side you will tackle onto. This direction should match the target's momentum. If the target is moving to the left, you should tackle to the left. The opposite goes for a right-moving target. Call this side the "same" side and the other side the "opposite" side.
  4. Lower your body for a thigh-level hit and ready your arms. The most common mistake made by inexperienced tacklers is to tackle too high.
  5. Hit (make contact with) the target with the same side shoulder and your head on the opposite side from the target's legs. Aim for mid-thigh, below the groin. If you hit low, you will have a much easier time tackling a larger opponent.
  6. Wrap your arms around the target's legs, squeeze the target's legs, and twist them towards the same direction, so that you land on top and not with the target's body on your head.

To become a skilled tackler, you should practice your technique. Practice with a friend on grass or a mat, but not a hard surface. Children should not practice tackling without adult supervision.

Padding is not necessary to practice tackling. (In fact, hard padding may cause injury to the participants.) A properly executed tackle should be relatively painless for both parties. Bear in mind that it can lead to serious injury and even death if performed incorrectly. Any tackling you may do is at your own risk only. I disclaim and disavow all resposibility for your actions.

If you find yourself scared to practice a standing tackle without padding, you should try kneeling and tackling a target who is walking towards you. You can thus work up to tackling while both you and your target are running and the target is trying to evade you.

Bear in mind that most circumstances that require you tackle an unwilling target prove to be high-pressure, high-stakes, and intimidating. You will be unable to follow the required steps unless you have practiced the motion and it comes naturally.

Additionally, the more skilled one is at tackling, the larger the target can be. As long as the tackler is moving fairly fast and is not evaded by the target, a skilled tackler should have little difficulty tackling a target 50 lbs heavier. In one female rugby games, I have witnessed a 5'0" woman repeatedly tackle opponents with a foot height advantage and twice the weight. That requires skill and determination.

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