- For a tackle to occur, the ball-carrier is held and brought to ground by one or more opponents.
- Being brought to ground means that the ball-carrier is lying, sitting or has at least one knee on the ground or on another player who is on the ground.
- Being held means that a tackler must continue holding the ball-carrier until the ball-carrier is on the ground.
- Players in a tackle are:
- Tackled player.
- Player(s) who hold the ball-carrier during a tackle but do not go to ground.
- Player(s) who arrive to contest possession in the tackle.
- Player(s) who are already on the ground.
- Tacklers must:
- Immediately release the ball and the ball-carrier after both players go to ground.
- Immediately move away from the tackled player and from the ball or get up.
- Be on their feet before attempting to play the ball.
- Allow the tackled player to release or play the ball.
- Allow the tackled player to move away from the ball.
- Tacklers may play the ball from any direction provided they have complied with the above responsibilities and a ruck has not formed.
- Tackled players must immediately:
- Make the ball available so that play can continue by releasing, passing or pushing the ball in any direction except forward. They may place the ball in any direction.
- Move away from the ball or get up.
- Ensure that they do not lie on, over or near the ball to prevent opposition players from gaining possession of it.
- Other players must:
- Remain on their feet and release the ball and the ball-carrier immediately.
- Remain on their feet when they play the ball.
- Arrive at the tackle from the direction of their own goal line before playing the ball.
- Not play the ball or attempt to tackle an opponent while on the ground near the tackle.
- Any player who gains possession of the ball:
- Must play it immediately, by moving away, or by passing or kicking the ball.
- Must remain on their feet, and not go to ground at or near the tackle unless tackled by the opposition.
- May be tackled, provided the tackler does so from the direction of their own goal line.
- The tackle ends when:
- A ruck is formed.
- A player on their feet from either team gains possession of the ball and moves away or passes or kicks the ball.
- The ball leaves the tackle area.
- The ball is unplayable. If there is doubt about which player did not conform to law, the referee orders a scrum. The throw is taken by the team moving forward prior to the stoppage or, if no team was moving forward, by the attacking team.
A tackle can take place anywhere in the field of play. The actions of players involved in the tackle must ensure a fair contest and allow the ball to be available for play immediately.
Requirements for a tackle
Players in a tackle