It’s very difficult for individuals to steal the ball by themselves, especially with the law requiring tacklers to get back on their side of the breakdown before playing the ball. With the tackle imminent, pairs of defenders can focus their efforts and work together in an attempt to get the ball back. Below are some of those methods:
First chop tackles low, Second jackals
First low to hold, Second strips ball
First and Second together to drive back, making sure to avoid a head clash
First and Second together to hold up (aka ‘choke’) ball carrier; prevent carrier from getting to ground once maul forms and stops, win scrum put-in
Even if these tactics do not result in turnovers, they are good practice for teams that are not the strongest solo tacklers. They also tend to put one defender in a position to challenge the ruck if the attacking player is able to get to ground and present the ball. In each case it is important that other defenders ‘squeeze in’ to shore up gaps around or assist in the tackle contest as needed, though it is also important to assess whether it’s wise to help or to stay out and attempt one of these tactics on the next phase.