World Rugby is set to launch a game-changing tackle education programme aimed at reducing the risk of injury through the promotion of best-practice technique.
Previewed at the Laws and Player Welfare symposium in Paris in March, the Tackle Ready programme will slot into the international federation’s portfolio of online and face-to-face training and education courses and resources under the Rugby Ready programme, available via www.rugbyready.worldrugby.org.
Once launched later this year, Tackle Ready will give coaches at all levels a five-stage framework around which to coach the tackle, broken down into the following categories: tracking, preparation, connection, acceleration and finish.
The content will be adapted to create a simpler version at age-group level, before adding more complex layers moving up towards the professional game.
Importantly, with research demonstrating that a bent at the waist tackle is 4.5 times safer than an upright, face-to-face tackle, Tackle Ready will have a significant injury-prevention benefit.
World Rugby Head of Technical Services Mark Harrington said: “Tackle Ready will be available as an online resource in multiple languages complimented with a face-to-face course delivered by our Licenced global educator network. When combined with the Activate warm-up programme, which statistically reduces concussion risk by up to 60 per cent, it could prove to be a game-changer for the sport.”
The programme is the latest initiative launched at a time when players of all ages and abilities, their parents and coaches are receptive and have the capacity to upskill in their approach to training, preparation and playing.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Tackle Ready will revolutionise coaching of the tackle from the grassroots right up to the elite level by focusing on the technical key factors in five stages of the tackle. This should help players to execute safer and more effective tackles and coaches to be more specific in their coaching approach.
“I believe that this is an aspect of the game that is missing. Not enough time is spent on tackle technique. Children are influenced by what they see on television so achieving buy-in from top players, coaches and teams is important.
“World Rugby is unwavering in its commitment to reducing the risk of injury at all levels, and we have been successful in reducing concussion levels through strong on-field law and medical management approaches.”
The tackle: welfare and performance
The tackle is an important performance and player welfare area of the game and if executed in line with best-practice, can lead to significant reductions in injury.
At the elite level, an average of 176 tackles are currently made per game with 50 per cent of all injuries and 76 per cent of concussions stemming from that area.
In partnership with unions and player bodies, World Rugby has been successful in launching initiatives that are having a significant impact on injury reduction at the tackle.
Tackle-related concussions dropped on average by 37 per cent during Rugby World Cup 2019 compared to the previous year’s elite competition average, following the introduction of the High Tackle Sanction Framework in 2019 which creates a zero-tolerance culture to high-risk tackles.
Meanwhile, the Fédération Française de Rugby has trialled a ban on tackling above the waist in community rugby, which has yielded positive game enjoyment, attractiveness and welfare outcomes, including a three-fold reduction in injuries and a 60 per cent reduction in head contact.
World Rugby’s full suite of online training and education resources can be accessed via www.passport.worldrugby.org.