RWU HQ – The Rugby World Cup is finally here!
Which means, rugby and rugby concepts are the talk of the water cooler here in the United States. And one of them is rugby-style tackling in American
(The other is Jarryd Hayne, and we’ve discussed him rather often lately, so we’ll move on… For now.)
In a Sept. 15 column titled What the NFL Can Learn From Rugby, writer Jonathan Clegg discussed the different tackling techniques taught in each game and how the rugby-style technique has begun to bridge the gap.
“Thanks to everything from the evolution of spread offenses to new laws limiting contact in practice, American football coaches have spent the past few years wrestling over how to halt the bigger, faster athletes that are popping up across the field.
The answer, it seems, may be found in rugby, a sport invented in 1823 whose players have spent the better part of two centuries perfecting the craft of bringing down ball-carriers in space. The Seahawks began studying rugby for tips on tackling in 2012 and became so enamored with their effectiveness that coach Pete Carroll subsequently released an instructional video on YouTube urging other coaches to adopt its superior, safer techniques.”
– Clegg writes.
As Clegg points out, the Seattle Seahawks were the first staff to bridge the gap, and other teams, especially collegiate programs, have joined the movement. Clegg cites Ohio State, Washington, Florida and Michigan State as some colleges that have jumped on the bandwagon.
“It’s a different way of defending,” said Tom Youngs, a rugger on England’s World Cup squad, via The Wall Street Journal. “In the NFL, they’re all set up to [tackle] whereas I may be wide or in different positions. We have to be better defenders in space.”
These four programs, and the Seahawks, are certainly on to something.
The way rugby players tackle their opponents versus the way football players do it are almost complete opposites. And with concussions being at the forefront of the National Football League right now, other franchises need to pick this up fast.
And the best way to implement this style might be to have players practice the technique without pads, which would simulate that rugby feel.
This is certainly a subject to keep an eye on moving forward.
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