What techniques determine a good tackle and ruck in the Six Nations and Championship?

To answer this question we analysed a total of 4479 tackles (Championship = 1853 tackles; Six Nations = 2626 tackles) and 2914 rucks (Championship = 1234 tackles; Six Nations = 1680 tackles). We studied the actions of the ball-carrier and tackler upon contact and after contact was made in the tackle. Thereafter, we observed and described the activities of the attackers and defenders at the ruck. Here are some of the highlights…

Firstly, the difference (or lack thereof) in tackle and ruck event numbers between the Six Nations and Championship.


Next, the technical determinants…

The Tackle

  • Being tackled from the front reduced the likelihood of offloads and tackle breaks in both competitions.
  • Fending during contact increased the chances of offloading and breaking the tackle in both competitions.
  • Strong ball-carrier leg drive in the Six Nations increased the probability of offloading in the tackle.
  • To break the tackle, ball-carrier leg drive increased the probability of a positive outcome in both competitions.

The Ruck

  • Actively placing the ball increased the likelihood of maintaining possession.
  • In the Six Nations, ball-carriers falling sideward after the tackle had a higher probability of maintain- ing ball possession during the ruck contest.
  • In the Championship, having 3–5 defending players actively engaging in the ruck decreased the likelihood of the attacking team maintaining possession of the ball by 85%.


While coaches and coaching manuals might recommend some of these techniques, for example, front-on shoulder tackles, other contact techniques such as fending are not part of standard contact training. Therefore, these techniques should be incorporated and emphasised during training to pre- pare players for competition.

Full article:

Hendricks, Sharief, Tiffany van Niekerk, Drew Wade Sin, Mike Lambert, Steve den Hollander, James Brown, Willie Maree, Paul Treu, Kevin Till, and Ben Jones. “Technical determinants of tackle and ruck performance in International rugby union.” Journal of Sports Sciences (2017): 1-7.


Detraining: Part I

In high performance, we are generally focused on how athletes improve their performance through training-induced physiological adaptations. However, it is also important to understand how they are affected by detraining during times of insufficient training stimuli. In this series, I will summarise two papers published in the Journal of Sports Medicine on detraining after short and long-term insufficient training.

Detraining: loss of physiological and performance adaptations Part 1

Detraining: loss of physiological and performance adaptations part 2

Paper Sumarry (2)



Performance Programming & Excel

As strength and conditioning or performance enhancement specialists we are always looking for different ways and means of presenting our strength cards, recovery data, conditioning sessions etc. In my opinion the strongest and easiest software that we can use is Excel. Excel has proven over and over again that its one of, if not the best means of presenting performance programming. Excel allows for an array of formulae development, data extraction and data presentation that is ideal for all in the performance industry. Here is a simple performance excel that we have used at LA Performance for the past 2 years. Let us know your thoughts and opinions.

Click on the link below:

LA Performance excel programming