[Tackle] Lifting Tackle

Greig

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I encountered a U14 team that had clearly been coached to lift in the tackle. This was mostly done legally, however on two occasions a player was lifted off the ground, held in the air in a helpless situation, tupped beyond the horizontal, and then dropped to the ground landing hips first.

which laws apply?
how the above should be ruled under the laws
how to manage repeated lifting tackles in a game
 
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SimonSmith


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At U14?
Ugh. I'm not sure, at that age grade, there's very much you can say on the field that will undo what a coach has spent ages drumming into them.

I think I'd penalize and card the ones that need it, and speak to the captain as you ordinarily would do. If it's H1, try to have a quick word with the coach to tell them what you're seeing and why it's concerning.

G'luck.
 

didds

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I guess if its becoming a trend in a game, you can start blowing immediately you see a lifted tackle "begin" and PK it as dangerous play.

I appreciate that in reality even that is possibly too late to stop the tackle-in-progress from completing with lift and potentially dump, but it may send a message to the players (if at the age of 13 they can cognitively comprehend it all) to stop using the technique - at least in that game.

How lucky that coach must be to have an entire squad that makes all normal tackles from all directions with established and working defensive systems such that he can then coach them to the "next level" ... (Irony alert).

didds
 
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Dickie E


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Greig,

this is from the ARU GMGs and should be your guidance:

[LAWS]Lifting tackles that place players in danger of injury must have serious consequences.
The onus is on the tackler to complete the tackle safely. Dropping or throwing tackled players once they are in a
dangerous position is to be strongly sanctioned.

Any time a tackled player's legs are lifted above horizontal it should result in a yellow card as a minimum.
If the tackled player is lifted and lands on their shoulder or head area it should result in a red card.[/LAWS]

Pretty unequivocal
 
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Marc Wakeham


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Greig,

this is from the ARU GMGs and should be your guidance:

[LAWS]Lifting tackles that place players in danger of injury must have serious consequences.
The onus is on the tackler to complete the tackle safely. Dropping or throwing tackled players once they are in a
dangerous position is to be strongly sanctioned.

Any time a tackled player's legs are lifted above horizontal it should result in a yellow card as a minimum.
If the tackled player is lifted and lands on their shoulder or head area it should result in a red card.[/LAWS]

Pretty unequivocal

In line with my thinking. At that age it's off you go. I'd also speake to my society to raise the issue so future refs are ready for it.
 

Greig

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I guess if its becoming a trend in a game, you can start blowing immediately you see a lifted tackle "begin" and PK it as dangerous play.

Thanks Didds, that is exactly what I did. I did not YC, because players were trying very hard to lift legally. When it continued after the PK, I did another PK, this time a warned the team, for repeated infringements. “Lifting tackles must stop”.

I appreciate that in reality even that is possibly too late to stop the tackle-in-progress from completing with lift and potentially dump, but it may send a message to the players (if at the age of 13 they can cognitively comprehend it all) to stop using the technique - at least in that game.

They got it, and stopped lifting.


The problem was that the coach was unhappy, and stated this loudly from the sideline.

How lucky that coach must be to have an entire squad that makes all normal tackles from all directions with established and working defensive systems such that he can then coach them to the "next level" ... (Irony alert).

Exactly. However I am certain the coach would say to the players that I got it wrong. The problem is that a lift tackle is not illegal until it is deemed dangerous, and this is leaving room for this coach to exploit.
 

Greig

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Greig,

this is from the ARU GMGs and should be your guidance:

[LAWS]Lifting tackles that place players in danger of injury must have serious consequences.
The onus is on the tackler to complete the tackle safely. Dropping or throwing tackled players once they are in a
dangerous position is to be strongly sanctioned.

Any time a tackled player's legs are lifted above horizontal it should result in a yellow card as a minimum.
If the tackled player is lifted and lands on their shoulder or head area it should result in a red card.[/LAWS]

Pretty unequivocal

I would not say unequivocal - there is room for interpretation here, for coaches to exploit. The players were working very hard to complete the tackles safely, they were being coached to. The lifting was only 10-20 cm from the ground, and "dangerous" and "beyond horizontal" was hard to rule with certainty. I could not quite justify a YC. The problem is that I cannot say categorically that lifting is illegal.
 

Greig

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Here are the laws that apply to lifting tackle:

[LAWS]
9.11 Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others.
9.17 A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground.
9.18 A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground.
[/LAWS]

Perhaps the application of 9.17 is controversial as it is intended for players jumping to catch the ball. But if used in this context, it provides a law to cover lifted players being deliberately manipulated in the air, and so makes illegal any follow through after a lift.

Can this be used to fill the fill the gap between safe and dangerous lift? A means to interpret and sanction repeated lifting tackles. Thoughts?
 

Dickie E


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Here are the laws that apply to lifting tackle:

[LAWS]
9.11 Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others.
9.17 A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground.
9.18 A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground.
[/LAWS]

Perhaps the application of 9.17 is controversial as it is intended for players jumping to catch the ball. But if used in this context, it provides a law to cover lifted players being deliberately manipulated in the air, and so makes illegal any follow through after a lift.

Can this be used to fill the fill the gap between safe and dangerous lift? A means to interpret and sanction repeated lifting tackles. Thoughts?

Greig, I'm not clear what it is that you're trying to achieve. The GMGs I posted in #5 is our local adjunct to the laws and carry their full authority. Lifting through horizontal is a mandatory YC especially in juniors.

Note though that if you, as referee, believe that there is no lift and the ball carrier still goes through horizontal, then you may decide that no sanction is warranted.

You use the term "safe lift" ... what do you have in mind?
 

Marc Wakeham


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Here are the laws that apply to lifting tackle:

[LAWS]
9.11 Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others.
9.17 A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground.
9.18 A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground.
[/LAWS]

Perhaps the application of 9.17 is controversial as it is intended for players jumping to catch the ball. But if used in this context, it provides a law to cover lifted players being deliberately manipulated in the air, and so makes illegal any follow through after a lift.

Can this be used to fill the fill the gap between safe and dangerous lift? A means to interpret and sanction repeated lifting tackles. Thoughts?


Nothing controversial in 9.17 for me. You can't tackle someone who is "off the ground" (normal caveats to allow running apply).
 

Greig

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Greig, I'm not clear what it is that you're trying to achieve. The GMGs I posted in #5 is our local adjunct to the laws and carry their full authority. Lifting through horizontal is a mandatory YC especially in juniors.

Note though that if you, as referee, believe that there is no lift and the ball carrier still goes through horizontal, then you may decide that no sanction is warranted.

You use the term "safe lift" ... what do you have in mind?

The problem with the GMGs is that they leave this gap between safe (legal) and dangerous (illegal) lifting that is open to interpretation (as you say). This leaves a hole open for junior coaches to insist that lifting in the tackle is legal and is a technique that can give their team an advantage, but in my view creates a situation that is potentially dangerous for young and inexperienced players.

In the game I describe above, the second PK came with a team warning. When I said to the captain that I had deemed the lift illegal and the team must stop lifting, the coach went mental on the sideline, saying it was legal. In the coaches eyes, I was the villain for making a decision that disadvantaged his team. I am looking for a way to EXPLAIN to players and coaches in a way that discourages the technique in lifting in the tackle, that connects directly to the laws of the game (not interpretation).
 

SimonSmith


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I'd be getting adice from my Society to make sure there is consistency in approach here.
Technically, unless the players went horizontal, the Coach is right.
Safety wise, at that age bracket, you were right.

The two positions are difficult to reconcile, absent a Society statement upon which you can fall back.
 

Greig

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Technically, unless the players went horizontal, the Coach is right.

I would argue there is more to it than that. I think that technically if players lift in the tackle and then fail to immediately release the player who is off their feet, they are breaking Law 9.17. And if they drop a player dangerously, they have broken Law 9.11.

Surely, a coach hearing this would have to ask themselves if lifting is a technique that should be encouraged in junior rugby.
 

Dickie E


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OK. So we're talking about a vertical lift, similar to lifting in a lineout.

Is it a one or two person lift?

What immediately happens after the lift ... gently lower, drop on feet, drop on head, carry towards goal line, etc?

What does the coach hope to gain by coaching this technique?
 

Greig

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OK. So we're talking about a vertical lift, similar to lifting in a lineout.

No. It is a front on, 45 degree, “plane taking off” action in the tackle contest, by one or two players, intent on lifting the opponent off the ground.

Is it a one or two person lift?


Both.

What immediately happens after the lift ... gently lower, drop on feet, drop on head, carry towards goal line, etc?

Aggressive drive toward the opponents tryline, and/or attempt to hold up the player for a maul.


On one occasion two defending players were holding a player in a helpless and prone position fully off the ground. I managed this by insisting that they lower the player to ground gently, which they did. No penalty.

On two occasions the player was near horizontal, and dropped heavily on his hip. Sanction was penalty. Second time a warning was issued to cease lifting. The team complied, despite protests from the coach.


What does the coach hope to gain by coaching this technique?

My guess is to disrupt the playing of the ball, and gain a turnover in the ensuing maul or ruck. In my opinion this technique is good and effective rugby, when done safely and legally while not lifting the player off the ground.
 

Jz558


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The difficulty here of course is that whilst we can agonise and debate how to deal with this on the field of play the coach in question is in no doubt that he is right and can see no reason to change. We've all come across one-eyed coaches, living their life vicariously through their teams, who scour the law book looking for something no one else has thought about or fine tuning a particular tactic to catch others out. Those who cannot see the difference between what is acceptable in adult rugby and what really should not be encouraged at youth level, even if it is technically legal, are a menace to the game. I've seen numerous instances of early teen players being over coached as if they are professionals who lose interest in the game because frankly they just want a run around with their mates.
 

Marc Wakeham


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I would argue there is more to it than that. I think that technically if players lift in the tackle and then fail to immediately release the player who is off their feet, they are breaking Law 9.17. And if they drop a player dangerously, they have broken Law 9.11.

Surely, a coach hearing this would have to ask themselves if lifting is a technique that should be encouraged in junior rugby.

Why do you say 9.17 requires an immediate release? 9.17 deals with a player who is off the ground. In the scenarios your describe the players were on the ground when they were : tackled, charged, pulled, pushed or grasped they were THEN lifted.

In itself there is no breach of 9.17 HOWEVER, the referee may judge the lift to be dangerous.

I think the coach should be considering whether it is a good idea to be coaching the technique as many might consider it dangerous in itself.
 

Greig

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The difficulty here of course is that whilst we can agonise and debate how to deal with this on the field of play the coach in question is in no doubt that he is right and can see no reason to change. We've all come across one-eyed coaches, living their life vicariously through their teams, who scour the law book looking for something no one else has thought about or fine tuning a particular tactic to catch others out. Those who cannot see the difference between what is acceptable in adult rugby and what really should not be encouraged at youth level, even if it is technically legal, are a menace to the game. I've seen numerous instances of early teen players being over coached as if they are professionals who lose interest in the game because frankly they just want a run around with their mates.

The coach was an experienced referee.
 
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