Table 1

Tackle descriptors and definitions

DescriptorDefinitions
Tackle Event13–16 An event where one or more tacklers (player or players making the tackle) attempted to stop or impede the ball-carrier (player carrying the ball) whether or not the ball-carrier was brought to ground.
Frequency of tackleCount of tackle events during match play.
Tackle context
Set piece event or phase event before tackle eventRuck.
Lineout.
Maul.
Scrum.
Kick-off.
Kick in play.
Number of phases before tackle eventNumber of phases from the restart to the tackle.
Total number of passes from the last event (ruck, lineout, maul, scrum and kick-off)Count of passes (number of times the ball is transferred between attacking players) from the last event (ruck, lineout, maul, scrum and kickoff) leading up to the tackle.
DefenderPlayer/s involved in the tackle on the defending team.
Precontact (1 s before contact)
Positional grouping of tackler21 25 Tight forwards: loosehead and tighthead prop, hooker and second row.
Loose forwards: open-side and blind-side flankers and number 8.
Inside backs: scrum-half, fly-half and inside centre.
Outside backs: outside centre, both wings and fullback.
Body position at 1 s before contact21 29 31 Upright: tackler displayed high body height with knees extended and hips neutral/extended.
Medium: tackler displayed moderate flexion at knees and hips.
Low: tackler displayed low body height.
Body position at 0.5 s before contact21 29 31 Upright: tackler displayed high body height with knees extended and hips extended.
Medium: tackler displayed moderate flexion at knees and hips.
Low: tackler displayed low body height.
Head position before contact21 23 29–31 Up and forward: gaze focused on ball-carrier.
Away: gaze away from ball-carrier.
Down: gaze pointing towards the ground (and not the ball-carrier).
Motion/Tracking: tackler’s gaze was not fixed (head was moving) in an attempt to follow the ball-carrier through the field of play.
Speed of tackler13–15 21 Fast: running or sprinting – purposeful running with maximal effort, with high knee lift.
Moderate: jogging – non-purposeful slow running with low knee lift.
Slow: stationary or walking, or no visible rapid foot movement.
Anticipation—whether the player was aware of impending contact situation Yes: player was aware of/attuned to impending contact.
No: player was unaware of/oblivious to impending contact.
Contact
First point of contact on the ball-carrier (ie, where on the ball-carrier is contacted?)13–15 Lower leg: area below the knee.
Hip: on the short’s line.
Upper leg: area between the hips (shorts line) and the knees.
Torso: above the ball-carrier’s hip level (shorts line) to the level of the ball-carrier’s arm pit.
Shoulder: from the ball-carrier’s arm pit level to the shoulder.
Arm: below the ball-carrier’s arm pit level but not making contact on the body (contact only to the arm of the ball-carrier without any contact to their torso).
Head and neck: above the shoulder (shirt/neck) with any connection with the head/neck during the course of the tackle.
For all of the above, left or right side.
Tackler body position at contact Upright: the tackler is standing in an upright position, with the knees only slightly bent and with minimal hip flexion (when the tackler’s chest is presented to the ball-carrier at contact).
Bent at the waist: the tackler is bent at the waist or crouched (where the tackler presents the top of the shoulder to the ball-carrier or upper body is perpendicular to the ground).
Falling/diving: the tackler is in the process of falling or diving to ground at the point of contact.
Was there contact between the tackler’s head and ball-carrier’s body (Y/N)? (that is, where does the tackler’s head go?) Yes or no
If yes, location:
Head to head.
Head to shoulder.
Head to arm.
Head to torso.
Head to hip.
Head to upper leg.
Head to knee.
Head to lower leg.
Head to ground.
Head to equipment.
Whiplash injury.
Head-to-head teammate.
For all of the above, left or right side.
If no, BC’s body the tackler’s head was in closest proximity.
Head to shoulder.
Head to arm.
Head to torso.
Head to hip.
Head to upper leg.
Head to knee.
Head to lower leg.
Head to ground.
Head to equipment.
Whiplash injury
Head-to-head teammate
For all of the above, left or right side.
Primary type of tackle at first point of contact13–16 Arm tackle: tackler impedes ball-carrier with upper limbs.
Left or right arm
Jersey tackle: tackler holds ball-carrier’s jersey.
Shoulder tackle: tackler contacts the ball-carrier with the shoulder as the first point of contact followed by the arms.
Left or right shoulder
Smother tackle: tackler uses chest and wraps both arms around ball-carrier.
Tap tackle: tackler trips ball-carrier with hand on lower limb below the knee.
Type of illegal tackle High tackle: a dangerous, high tackle indicated by the referee.
Stiff-arm tackle: a dangerous stiff-arm tackle as indicated by the referee.
Shoulder charge: a dangerous use of the shoulder to impede the ball-carrier without attempting to grasp that player.
Lift tackle: tackler raises ball-carrier’s hips above ball-carrier’s head.
Collision (no-arm) tackle: tackler impedes ball-carrier without the use of the arms.
Aerial collision: player is tackled while both feet are off the ground.
Late tackle after the whistle: a tackle after the referee whistle has stopped play.
Late tackle after the ball is played: a tackle after the attacking player has passed or kicked the ball.
Tackle without the ball: an attacking player, not in possession of the ball, is impeded/tackled.
Active or passive16 If a shoulder tackle, was it active or passive
Active shoulder tackle: first contact is with the tackler’s shoulder, and the tackler drives or attempts to drive the ball-carrier backwards.
Passive shoulder tackle: first contact is with the tackler’s shoulder, and the tackler does not drive or attempts to drive the ball-carrier backwards.
Direction of contact13–15 Front-on: tackler makes contact with the front of the ball-carrier.
Side-on: tackler makes contact with the ball-carrier’s side.
Behind: tackler makes contact with the ball-carrier’s from behind.
Number of tacklersNumber of defenders actively attempting to stop or impede the ball-carrier (player carrying the ball) whether the ball-carrier was brought to ground. Tacklers are counted until the ball-carrier is brought to ground.
Tackle sequence (additional defender(s) must join while tackle is still in progress, before the ruck begins)14 15 21 One-on-one: one defender contacts one attacker.
Sequential: one defender contacts one attacker, followed by a second defender joining the contact situation. (can be coded as a separate tackle)
Simultaneous: two defenders contact one attacker at the same time (coded as separate tackles)
Dual sequential: two defenders contact one attacker followed by a third/fourth defender joining the contact situation. (coded as separate tackles).
Postcontact
Tackler leg drive after contact21 23 25 Absent: no leg drive.
Moderate: moderate knee movement, with no high lift.
Strong: high, rapid knee lift.
Upper body usage after contact23 31 Yes: tackler uses upper body (arms, shoulders) to actively pull/wrap/wrestle ball-carrier after contact.
No: no active upper body (arms and shoulders) usage after contact.
JackalA defender competes for the ball using their hands after a tackle was made but before a ruck is formed.
 AttackerPlayer/s involved in the tackle on the attacking team.
Precontact (0.5 s before contact)
Positional grouping of ball-carrier21 25 Tight forwards: loosehead and tighthead prop, hooker and second row.
Loose forwards: open-side and blind-side flankers number 8.
Inside backs: scrum-half, fly-half and inside centre.
Outside backs: outside centre, both wings and fullback.
Body position at 1 s before contact21 29 31 Upright: ball-carrier displayed high body height with knees extended and hips neutral/extended.
Medium: ball-carrier displayed moderate flexion at knees and hips.
Low: ball-carrier displayed low body height.
Body position at 0.5 s before contact21 29 31 Upright: ball-carrier displayed high body height with knees extended and hips extended.
Medium: ball-carrier displayed moderate flexion at knees and hips.
Low: ball-carrier displayed low body height.
Head position before contact21 23 29–31 Up and forward: gaze focused on tackler.
Away: gaze away from tackler.
Down: gaze pointing towards the ground (and not the tackler).
Motion/tracking: ball-carrier’s gaze was not fixed (head was moving).
Distance from tackler at ball reception14 21 26 Near: less than 2 m of the tackler.
Moderate: between 2 m and 4 m of the tackler.
Distant: greater than 4 m from the tackler.
Pattern of running prior to contact21 26 Straight: ball-carrier ran straight at the defence.
Side step: ball-carrier performed an evasive step initiated by either leg before contact.
Arcing run: ball-carrier performed arcing run.
Lateral run: ball-carrier performed a run from touchline to touchline.
Diagonal run: ball-carrier runs at an angle, instead of straight at the tackler.
Speed of ball-carrier13–15 21 Fast: running or sprinting – purposeful running with maximal effort, with high knee lift.
Moderate: jogging – non-purposeful slow running with low knee lift.
Slow: stationary or walking – no visible rapid foot movement.
Anticipation—whether the player was aware of impending contact situation Yes: player was aware of/attuned to impending contact.
No: player was unaware of/oblivious to impending contact.
Was there contact between the ball-carrier’s head and tackler’s body (Y/N)? (ie, where does the ball-carrier’s head go?) Yes or no
If yes, location:
Head to head.
Head to shoulder.
Head to arm.
Head to torso.
Head to hip.
Head to upper leg.
Head to knee.
Head to lower leg.
Head to ground.
Head to equipment.
Whiplash injury.
Head-to-head teammate.
For all of the above, left or right side.
If no, tackler’s body the BC’s head was in closest proximity to:
Head to shoulder.
Head to arm.
Head to torso.
Head to hip.
Head to upper leg.
Head to knee.
Head to lower leg.
Head to ground.
Head to equipment.
Whiplash injury.
Head-to-head teammate.
For all of the above, left or right side.
Fend16 21 26 Absent: ball-carrier provided no fend.
Moderate: ball-carrier provided a light to moderate fend (eg, swat or slap technique).
Strong: ball-carrier provided strong fend (eg, push technique).
Contact impact intensity14–16 30 Subjective description of physical impact between the ball-carrier and tackler:
Low.
Medium.
High.
Attacker sequence (additional attacker(s) must join while tackle is still in progress, before the ruck begins)14 30 One-on-one: one defender contacts one attacker.
Sequential: one attacker contacts one defender, followed by a second attacker joining the contact situation.
Simultaneous: two attackers contact one defender at the same time.
Dual sequential: two attackers contacts one defender followed by a third/fourth attacker joining the contact situation.
Attacker body position at contact Upright: the ball-carrier is standing in an upright position, with the knees only slightly bent and with minimal hip flexion (when the ball-carrier’s chest is presented to the tackler at contact).
Bent at the waist: the ball-carrier is bent at the waist or crouched (where the ball-carrier presents the top of the shoulder to the tackler, or upper body is perpendicular to the ground).
Falling/diving: the BC is in the process of falling or diving to ground at the point of contact.
Ball-carrier leg drive after contact21 23 25 Absent: no leg drive.
Moderate: Moderate knee movement, with no high lift.
Strong: high, rapid knee lift.
Upper body usage after contact23 31 Yes: ball-carrier uses upper body (arms and shoulders) to actively wrestle/push the tackler after contact.
No: no active upper body (arms and shoulders) usage after contact.
Tackle result21 23 27 Offload: the ball-carrier is able to pass the ball to a teammate during the tackle.
Tackle break: the ball-carrier successfully penetrates the attempted tackle and continues to advance.
Tackle completed: when an offload or tackle break does not occur, and either player goes to ground or the ball-carrier is held up and cannot progress further. This can also be considered a successful tackle.
Ruck formed: a phase of play whereby one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground.
Possession lost: the attacking team is unable to advance through an offload or tackle break, or form a ruck, and lose the ball either through an infringement or error.
Which player achieves contact territorial dominance?21 23 The direction of progression the tackler and ball-carrier made (as a single unit) towards the opposition try-line from the point of contact to the point where both players went to ground (completed tackle) or when a maul is formed. This is considered an indication of the physical dominance of the tackler or ball-carrier in the contact.
Ball-carrier.
Tackler.
No change.
InfringementsPenalty awarded against defender.
Penalty awarded against attacker.
Infringement acknowledged by referee – advantage used by defending team.
Infringement acknowledged by referee – advantage used by attacking team.
(Reason for infringement can also be captured).
Injury Medical attention: player received medical attention and either continued playing or was removed permanently or temporarily.
No medical attention: coder observed a possible injury to a player, but said player did not receive medical attention during the match.
Was the player removed from play?: yes/no.
Possible head injury?: yes/no.
*For professional level only* Was a head injury assessment instigated?
  • Yes/no.

  • Did the player return to play?: yes/no.

Injured player Ball-carrier.
Tackler.
Not clear.
Injury location Lower leg: area below the knee.
Hip: on the short’s line.
Upper leg: area between the hips (short line) and the knees.
Torso: above the ball-carrier’s hip level (short line) to the level of the ball-carrier’s arm pit.
Shoulder: from the ball-carrier’s arm pit level to the shoulder.
Arm: below the ball-carrier’s arm pit level.
Head and neck: above the shoulder (shirt/neck).
When an injury is observed the injurious event should recorded and linked to injury surveillance data.
Injury location:
Head and neck.
Upper extremity (shoulders and arms).
Lower extremity (legs).
Torso.
Unknown location.