This study examined the validity of a tool that assesses tackle and ruck technique in training and established reference data for tackle, ball-carry and ruck technique at different levels of play in rugby union. One hundred and thirty-one amateur rugby union players; 37 senior, 51 first-grade academy and 43 second-grade academy players, participated in a two-on-two contact drill. The drill was filmed and the players' tackle, ball-carry and ruck technique were assessed using standardized technical criteria. Senior level players scored significantly higher in all three assessments; tackle technique senior vs academy 1st (p < 0.01, effect size (ES) = 0.7, moderate), senior vs academy 2nd (p < 0.01, ES = 0.7, moderate); ball-carry technique senior vs academy 1st (p < 0.01, ES = 0.6, moderate), senior vs academy 2nd (p < 0.01, ES = 0.8, moderate); ruck technique senior vs academy 1st (p < 0.01, ES = 0.7, moderate), senior vs academy 2nd (p < 0.01, ES = 0.4, small). These findings emphasize the importance of developing contact technique to allow players to progress to higher levels, and provide validity to an assessment tool which can facilitate this process.
den Hollander, S., Lambert, M., Jones, B., & Hendricks, S. (2019). Tackle and ruck technique proficiency within academy and senior club rugby union. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37(22), 2578-2587. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2019.1648121