The Bath and England flanker gives his top tips on tackle technique

Sam Underhill: How to make a perfect tackle

Ever since he became a regular in the Ospreys team, Sam Underhill has caught the eye with his uncompromising tackles. He has taken that strength of his game to Bath and England, and was one of his country’s star performers at the 2019 World Cup when he performed such an effective partnership on the flanks with Tom Curry.

Here he explains how to make a perfect tackle…

The height

“Stay as tall as you can for as long as you can – and pick an appropriate tackle height. If you drop your body height too early, the ball-carrier can move quicker than you; by staying tall you can move laterally and forward better, so have more time to react.”

The feet

“Make sure your feet are close to the ball-carrier and your lead foot should be the same as your lead shoulder – if you want to use your right shoulder, your right foot should be closest to the carrier. If your feet are too far away, you can’t generate force with a leg drive.”

The head

“Get your head on the right side and close to their body. Your body tends to follow your head; if your head is loose it’s easier for them to knock you away with a hand-off.”


The leg drive

“Show intent to win the collision. Lots of people go for big hits but don’t chase their feet. Big shoulder contacts can look awesome but it doesn’t mean it’s a good tackle;
 you need good leg drive to finish off the tackle. Ultimately you want to finish on top of them so you
 can get back into the game quicker than they can.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 edition of Rugby World magazine.

Every month Rugby World features advice from professional players and coaches on specific skills.

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