- 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 the direction of their own goal line 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.
- Offside lines are created at a tackle when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball, which is on the ground. Each team’s offside line runs parallel to the goal line through the hindmost point of any player in the tackle or on their feet over the ball. If that point is on or behind the goal line, the offside line for that team is the 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