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Wednesday Jan 27, 2016

Jacques Burger lines up and nails Luke McAlister with textbook tackle

Jacques Burger lines up and nails Luke McAlister with textbook tackle
13
Comments

While we all love to see big, spectacular hits, there is something special about seeing a beautifully executed, technically perfect tackle. And while Jacques Burger is not often known for his finesse, this tackle is right up there as one of the best we’ve seen this season.

Note how Burger wasn’t even watching the ball, but instead lined up Toulouse flyhalf Luke McAlister from his position at the back of the lineout, and never took his eyes off him. Remember all those hours you spent with tackle bags?

A few months back Burger told The Guardian all about his mindset and abilities when it comes to tackling, and stressed that it isn’t only about brute force if you want to be effective.

“It’s one thing to try to smash people left, right and centre but there is a lot of skill that comes into it too,” the Namibian kingpin said.

“You have to know when to come off the line. When to go low. When to go for the ball to prevent the offload. All those decisions you make in an instant. The more you play, it just kind of happens.

“But while a coach can tell you where you should be positioned, at the end of the day you have to have the mentality that you want to hit somebody. If you want to make a big hit, there has to be no fear. And I don’t have fear on a rugby pitch.”

We’ve seen that lack of fear on display many times throughout his career, despite the fact that at 6ft2, Burger isn’t one of the biggest men out on the field by any means.

“Even the backs are bigger than me these days. They are all so massive. The game is getting bigger and bigger. But, if a guy runs at me – whatever his size – I will try to hit him as hard as I can. That’s something you have to want in your soul. It’s something you can’t teach,” he explained.

WATCH: Jacques Burger’s excellent tackling Masterclass on Rugby Tonight

The tackling has no doubt taken it’s toll on him though, and at 32-years-old the veteran of three World Cup’s recently decided to hang up his Test rugby boots.

“You can’t get out of bed. Everything hurts. It feels like you have been in a car accident. You tell yourself you won’t be able to train the following day. Yet you always do. Rugby is a brutal game but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love it.”

So while this tackle on McAlister was far from the biggest or most eye catching, it was fantastic to watch and fully sums up everything Burger, one of the toughest men in the sport, is all about.

There was a nice little exchange between McAlister and Burger on twitter following the match.

13 Comments

  • stroudos
    9:26 AM 02/02/2016

    Oh do behave Larry. This site was built on big hits and dirty play. Speaking of which, @RD - it is almost exactly a year to the day since the last Trysavers and Rib Breakers - I think your loyal fans are due a new installment. The RWC2015 special was particularly conspicuous by its absence.Honestly speaking, I usually make my tackles in the less violent way you describe above, but on the odd occasion I manage to line someone up and smash him, it is a wonderful sensation. You must admit that, right? The boost it gives your team when you dominate an opponent like that is immeasurable but hugely significant. I think the comparison with American Football is a bit flawed. The problems in that sport, I think, are the tackle technique (leading with the head) and the amount of body protection including headgear, which provides a false sense of security leading to a more reckless tackling style. Fortunately we don't have these things in rugby, particularly with the clampdown on lifting tackles and the concussion protocols. I will concede that the intensity has increased and it's more common to smash someone at chest height rather than wrapping the legs up. (Funnily enough at the (mediocre) level I play, this actually has led to more missed tackles and people getting bumped off, so it's kind of self-policing safety-wise). As for this tackle and your comment - "going low and launching into the tackled player. So, expect more concussions from this type of tackle" - I just don't see any correlation. Only if the tackled player bangs his head on the ground, but that doesn't often happen if the player has any kind of core strength.

    Reply
  • larry
    2:37 AM 31/01/2016

    Marginal call if he was offside. Regarding the tackle, I have to wonder why tackles are so glorified on this site. Can you imagine, back in the day of Barry John and Gareth Edwards, a newspaper or magazine about rugby putting so much emphasis on treat tackles? It never would have happened. I'm in America, and believe me, half the parents in this nation do not want their kids playing American football because of all the concussions. With the law changes in rugby over the last decade or so, the game has more live play, less set pieces overall, and with professionalism more training, coaching, more defense, resulting in play getting more dangerous. Years back the game had Jean Pierre Rives and JPR Williams making tackles like this Burger, but now there are dozens and dozens of players in the top club and provincial sides making these head-on tackles, and going low and launching into the tackled player. So, expect more concussions from this type of tackle and play overall. Heck, I refereed a women's college match this afternoon here in California, in Monterey (and it's nice to have rugby weather again during the season after a four year absence, a real winter here for once, with rain, cool weather, overcast skies, and muddy pitches!), and several young women got laid out from hard tackles that were legal, in that the tackle did have the arm wrap, but dangerous looking from the intensity of the tackle. No one seriously hurt, though one player did go off with a headache, but isn't it true that if one tackles well, one doesn't have to put the tackled player in danger, only make the tackle, hold up the player from advancing, or put the player on the ground without putting one's own head and body in jeopardy as well? I'll certainly admit that some tackles look worse than they are, and that a smaller player is more than likely going to get knocked down by a bigger and stronger player. It's the intensity I'm concerned with mostly.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    10:31 AM 29/01/2016

    Fair enough. I stand corrected. By the way, the tweets weren't in RD's description when I posted my earlier comment, (not that that makes any difference). But I think that's a case of modesty from Burger. The quality of this hit had a lot more to do with the speed of his run than of the pass.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    10:25 AM 29/01/2016

    Luke McAlister's thought process as he saw Burger lining him up: https://youtu.be/fDr6X6fCvxw?t=3m4s

    Reply
  • mattyp
    4:00 AM 29/01/2016

    He drifted across field for half a dozen steps, which allowed Burger to line up McAllister. So the pass itself wasn't slow, but the drift was what set up McAllister - which is what Burger is referring to in his tweet.

    Reply
  • drg
    7:59 PM 28/01/2016

    That was a brilliant hit, it's those last steps from Burger which show incredible power, he was running before but those last steps seemed to be a mega power sprint... Glad everyone was ok too! :)

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    3:30 PM 28/01/2016

    I suppose i'm getting a bit too pedantic, it was nearly a head on tackle, but Toulouse and Burger's angle put his head in front of McAlister's drift. It is a good way to keep your body behind the hit, but not the best for personal safety... something Burger gave up on a long time ago!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:27 PM 28/01/2016

    Also, hats off to Luke McAllister for wearing that and popping straight back up onto his feet.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:26 PM 28/01/2016

    Surely your head's only on the wrong side if you're tackling from the side? In this case he's running directly at McAllister's chest so he can just pick whichever side he prefers!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:18 PM 28/01/2016

    Commentator is wrong, (second guy to speak I mean, Mark Robson fantastic as always), complaining about a slow pass from the scrum half; it wasn't really, that is just awesome line speed from Burger.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:14 PM 28/01/2016

    It's like the old days on here!! :) But with improved frequency - two massive tackles in as many days and a brutal hand-off the day before. It's like Christmas for Rugbydump fans.

    Reply
  • colombes
    11:48 AM 28/01/2016

    Seems a fantastic tackle for me. He anticipated the pass by sprinting on McAllister. With Fa'asavalu last one, we should be relieved watch these big hits rather to debate on hands in the face becoming vicious eye-gouges.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    9:41 AM 28/01/2016

    Timing was perfect. It is refreshing to see such a solid no nonsense tackle, no lift, no twist, no funny business. His head was on the wrong side, but McAlister's legs are so unnecessarily huge he was in no danger of a hitting anything but Quad. (seriously, look at the video, his calves should be called Bulls) he is hard to knock over, even more difficult to push him backwards.

    Reply


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Jacques Burger lines up and nails Luke McAlister with textbook tackle | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos