A tip tackle (also known as a spear tackle) is where a player:
- Is stationary, or has come to a stop;
- grabs an opponent low;
- lifts them;
- twists them;
- drives or drops them so that they land on their back, head or neck.
What can go wrong?
By lifting & turning a player so that they are dropped or driven from a height the possibility of serious injury to the back, neck or head is significantly increased.
Any player who carries out a tackle that fulfils all the above requirements should be Sent Off (Red Card) in line with the current directions from the World Rugby.
Where a player carries out such a tackle it is their responsibility to bring the tackled player safely to ground, ball carrier's weight, or lack of intent is not an excuse to drop a player and should not be used as a mitigating factor for reducing the sanction.
Should one of the above requirements not be present the referee will use judgement in deciding if to play on, penalise, or use a card. A red card may still be issued if the referee believes the tackle was sufficiently reckless.
As the tackle happens quite quickly it is very difficult, from a refereeing perspective, to prevent.
If a referee notices that this type of tackle is potentially about to be performed a loud shout of "Don't drop them" is really all you can do, hopefully it will be enough to make the tackler aware enough to put the ball carrier down safely. If the player does not then the referee has no choice but to issue the sanctions detailed above.
Well Known Examples
- Bradley Davies (Wales) vs Ireland - 2012 Six Nations. (Yellow Carded by Wayne Barnes following recommendation from Dave Pearson, cited and suspended).
- Sam Warburton (Wales) vs France - RWC 2011 Semi Final. (Red Carded by Alain Rolland).
- Steven Shingler (London Irish) vs Cardiff - 2011/12 Heineken Cup. (Red Carded by Jerome Garces)
- Rory Sidey (Western Force) vs Sharks - 2011 Super Rugby. (Red Carded by Keith Brown)
- The Powerpoint Presentation - Requires the Presenter Notes download in order to be presented properly.
- File:Dynamics of a tip tackle notes.pdf The Presenter Notes for the Powerpoint Presentation
- File:Dynamics of a tip tackle.pdf A PDF version of the Powerpoint Presentation
- File:Dynamics of a tip tackle handout.pdf A smaller handout for those watching the participation