Tip Tackles

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A tip tackle (also known as a spear tackle) is where a player:

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[1].

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

Training Resources


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