The effect of technique on tackle gainline success outcomes in elite level rugby union

Gregory J Tierney, Karl Denvir, Garreth Farrell, Ciaran K Simms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Tackling is a major component of rugby union and effective attacking and defensive play are essential for game outcomes. In this study, a number of pre-contact, contact and post-contact tackle characteristics that had an influence on tackle gainline success for the ball carrier and tackler were identified using match video evidence from European Rugby Champions Cup games. A total of 122 front-on tackles and 111 side-on tackles were analysed. For each ball carrier and tackler characteristic, the Odds Ratio and 95% Confidence Interval were calculated based on a gainline success outcome. A Chi-Square and Phi and Cramer’s V calculation was also conducted. A Chi-Square test then identified any statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) for proficiency characteristics between playing position. For both the ball carrier and tackler, tackle characteristics that were indicative of strong and powerful tackle technique such as ‘explosiveness on contact’ and ‘leg drive on contact’ were effective for achieving the desired gainline outcome. Playing position had an influence on only two proficiency characteristics that were statistically significant for gainline success: ‘fending into contact’ for ball carriers and ‘straight back, centre of gravity forward of support base’ for tacklers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Science Coaching
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 May 2017


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