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Safe Tackle - Y with Brendon Ratcliffe

Founder of In 1993 as a fresh graduate of Otago University’s School of Physical Education Brendon landed one of the 10 full time jobs in rugby coaching in New Zealand as a Provincial Rugby Development Officer. This was the start of a 21 year fully professional rugby development and coaching career that has taken him around the world and culminated in the development and global growth of this website. Brendon is a true rugby missionary. Creating and driving the simple philosophy of this site that aims to share the applied knowledge and understanding of the best rugby players and coaches in the world, with the world.

Part 1. Starter Coach Promo   1:22 Member content

Brendon shares his tips in this series which is aimed to support new coaches and junior coaches.

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Part 2. Starter Coach - Tackle Safe 19:33 Member content

This Starter Coach session will focus on a safe tackle. I’ll strip it right back to the very basic fundamentals of the tackle and take you through the process that if this is your first time coaching tackle, this is how I recommend you should start.

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Part 3. Starter Coach - Defence alignment & basic defensive structure 15:13 Member content

A good defensive structure relies on individual players clearly identifying WHO they are responsible for, aligning on them, then working together as a defensive unit to shut down the opposition attack and turn over possession. We begin with the key concept of alignment – how a defender positions themselves to control the opposition attacker and maximise their chance to dominate the tackle situation. We’ll then build to a simple 3 on 3 defensive system. Defence is about the individual understanding their role and committing to it within your team’s system

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Part 4. Starter Coach - Hammering Fundamentals - Tackle Alignment 4:22 Free video

In this video, Brendon, with his junior players, gets defensive and targets the Tackle Alignment.
As Brendon explains, give the players the Why and show them the How and they will be much more comfortable in making the tackles.
Coaches take the opportunity with the training restrictions to develop your players’ understanding and have fun doing it. Enjoy!

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Course Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Duration 40:30
Topics Player Programme Tackling Defence Youth Coaching
Applicable to Others   Coaches  
Languages English

Click on CC button at top left of video for other translation options.

Course reviews

Tackling can be quite intimating for players [and parents] like the way a safe progression presented.


This is great and essential for not only training the future players but satisfying parents that their kids are being taught to play safely.


Gret and clear concepts. Wonderful lesson, please continue with these sessions focus on Junior rugby


Great to see that’s content for jr boys

New Zealand

Really good to break it down step by step

South Africa
Great to see this content for junior coaches.

i will take that one to my next sessions, it is well explained with all the key elements but I feel something is missing, how do i teach the kids how to fall, meaning by that the ball carrier, is there any videos on that part or nay of you have tips? Sharky


Wonderful. Please give us more of this series!

South Africa

Fantastic video, great help for a new coach. Training session looked fun, great focus on safety, communication and awesome interaction with the boys. please keep these coming. Cheers.

New Zealand

when this article will be traslate to spanish ?


Really great video. Part three particularly is excellent for introducing communication as a key element. Matt.


Nice little video, well presented, simple but effective. Be great to see progressive videos right to adults, whith effective defence drills to base defence systems on, there seems a sparsity of innovative defensive drills out there.

Great Britain & Northern Ireland

Excellent direction on how to set up tacking session and how to refocus kids when thing start to deteriorate. Also section with tackle bag helpful to see how fundamentals get forgotten


I’m coaching a team of U10’s who are fantastic offensively but we’ve been disorganised defensively, so I thought that this video has given me a great insight as to how I can introduce some simple, but effective, structure. Really useful.


old principle still good something senior players tend to forget

South Africa

Great Video, very informative. Best part for me was the kids weren’t perfect so made it totally realistic. Would love to see videos on Scrums & lineouts for kids.


I love the bit in the beginning of the film about the higher you progress in the game more simplistic and fundamental it becomes


Outstanding. The tackle was broken down into understandable steps and very well presented. Questioning the boys reinforced their learning. I particularly liked the change over to the tackle bag. It further reinforced getting the feet close to the bag, shoulder in, wrap, and follow the feet. So often players dive at the bag for the ‘big hit’ and don’t realize their lack of power. Quite agree on the comment made about the straight on tackle. I would start with tackling from angle giving the kids better success and more confidence. Tackling can be intimidating for those who don’t have the confidence yet. Overall i would give the video an ‘A’


Good interaction with the players and good use of questions in drawing out key learning points from them. One concern for me would be on safety i.e. There appeared to be front on tackles on knees, adult on child contact in demonstrations and with this being global it may send out the wrong message.

Great Britain & Northern Ireland

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