The former Sale and Scotland flanker on momentum-changing hits

Jason White: How to put in monster tackles

The former Scotland captain was known in his playing days as a hitman, relishing putting in match-halting tackles on opposition stars. So here are his tips for putting in your own momentum-changing hits.

Get scanning

“Make sure your spacing is correct in the defensive line and scan up to see what’s in front of you. Are you numbers down or up? That has a big influence on whether you’re going to shoot out to cut off the play or drift heavily. If numbers up, you’re in a positive position and can put on as much line speed as possible and get into the opposition space.”

Team awarenss

“With big hits, you’re going for it yourself. But you’ve developed an understanding with team-mates about who’s going to do it – not everybody in the team is going to shoot early. The biggest thing is having those conversations on the training ground to help each other out.”

Jason White

Proud as punch: White after beating Fiji in 2003 (Getty)

Get shifting

“You have to win the first five yards – it’s physical and mental. So it’s getting off the line as quickly as possible, getting low and driving. It’s a transfer of all the work you do in the gym. A bit of vanity and being in shape is great, but how does that gym work help you on the pitch? Your squats, jumps – it’s about getting that power from your legs to your shoulder and transferring that into the opposition ball-carrier.”

Related: Jason White relives his biggest hits

Be in charge of the tackle

“Look to make shoulder contact around the midriff, the ribs. So just below the nipple either front- or side-on, then transferring that power. You can try to wrap one arm round and hook a leg up, to get them off balance. Or depending on the power you put through you could grab both legs, but then it’s about making sure you’re in charge of the tackle and can look after the person. Hitting them as hard as you can but ensuring they are safe.”

This article originally appeared in the September 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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