Author: Disa Nkgowe

A professional graphic designer with more than 20 years industry experience, and a World Rugby level 2 (7's and 15's) qualified rugby coach. Founder of Graphic Design, Web Design, Film making & VFX studio: Phaphatha
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World Rugby launches Tackle Ready Programme

Tackle coaching in rugby is set to be transformed with the global launch of Tackle Ready, which aims to reduce the risk of head injury at all levels of the sport by improving technique.

  • New programme forms key head injury prevention initiative within World Rugby’s six-point player welfare advancement strategy 
  • All coaches at all levels will have access to a five-stage framework for coaching effective technique that promotes prevention
  • World Rugby and national unions currently examining tackle height limits in key closed trials to aid welfare outcomes
Tackle ready course
World Rugby launches Tackle Ready to educate players on safe tackle technique

Tackle coaching in rugby is set to be revolutionised with the global launch of the Tackle Readywhich aims to reduce the risk of head injury at all levels of the sport by improving technique.  

Tackle Ready supports World Rugby’s commitment to advance best-practice injury-prevention education programmes within a wide-ranging strategy to cement rugby as the most progressive sport on player welfare. Under Tackle Ready, coaches at all levels will be given a five-stage framework around which to coach the tackle, broken down into the following categories: tracking, preparation, connection, acceleration and finish. 

The content is relevant for all ages and stages of player and builds on the introductory information provided in Rugby Ready and should be used by coaches in conjunction with their Union’s Age Grade Law Variations where applicable. 



Tackle Ready supports the education pillar of the recently launched strategy to cement rugby as the most progressive sport on player welfare. It has been developed following comprehensive research into the relationship between head injuries and the tackle, which demonstrates that 76 per cent of head injuries occur at the tackle, two thirds of head injuries occur to the tackler and a bent at the waist tackle is 4.5 times safer than an upright, face-to-face tackle.  

World Rugby is rolling out the innovative injury-prevention programme via its global network of educators and trainers with unions following suit. Free-to-access video guidance available at [] means that everyone in the game will be able to access and benefit from the best-practice resource.  

What it means. to me column header image

What it means to me – A quote by Gen. Patton

General Patton was a World War II general who served in the United States Army. Very often he had to make decisions in the heat of battle with limited information, and even less time. But he knew that hesitation in combat could be deadly. It would afford the enemy the opportunity to maneuver and defeat his troops. Which often meant death.


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I trust that, more often than not, the coordination and unified effort of the group, will overcome the shortcomings in the plan

Now, obviously, in rugby we are involved in a far less deadly endeavor than General Patton. We’re not worried about bullets and bombs, but rather tackles and tries. That is not to say, though, that this quote has no meaning for us.

For a coach like myself, I have to provide instruction to my players in the heat of a game, not battle. I can take advice from assistants, and sometimes even players, but a plan has to be made and provided to the players. Once the whistle goes, I do not have time to toy around with every bit of information, or concept, to find the perfect plan. If I see something wrong, I have to instruct the players in what to do to fix it. If I see an opportunity, I have to instruct the players in how to take advantage of it.

This means, it may not be perfect, but if everyone gives their all, I trust that, more often than not, the coordination and unified effort of the group, will overcome the shortcomings in the plan.


Supporting your teammate plan, or you may lose the game and points.

When I was a younger player one of the most frustrating things was when a team mate did something I wasn’t expecting, that wasn’t “the plan”. Particularly early on in my career, this had the effect of getting me disengaged. I could end up not doing anything. Sometimes my fellow team mates would do the same thing. Can you imagine what that looked like? One player going off with the ball, while two, three, or more of their teammates stood still and watched them? It must have been a sight, for spectators and the coach.

The breakthrough came when in one game I just started throwing myself into supporting my teammates ideas of the moment. Instead of one player alone, they were SUPPORTED by their teammate, and it created more opportunities for them and myself. I realized that my teammates plan may have had a low chance of success if we participated, but it usually had NO chance of success if we didn’t.


If you’re a coach, hesitation can be the difference between scoring and being scored upon. Don’t hesitate to communicate the plan until it’s perfect. Communicate it with your players with clarity and confidence.

If you are a player, participate fully in the plans of your coach, but if your teammate sees an opportunity, and improvises, participate in the improvisation.

Support each others plans fully and your dedication is what will transform an average plan into a great one.

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