Ireland centre Garry Ringrose. Ashley Crowden/INPHO

Try-saving tackles and rib-ticklers with Ireland centre Garry Ringrose

The 28-year-old had some big moments in defence against Wales last weekend.

GARRY RINGROSE LIKES to talk about the finer details of the game.

He’s a student of rugby, one of those players who has a voracious appetite for watching and analysing the sport. His style of play underlines that he is someone who has a great game understanding.

So it makes sense that he’s happy to get into the weeds when it comes to some of the moments he’s been involved in. Like his try-saving tackle on Dan Biggar in Cardiff last weekend. It looked like a certain score but somehow Ringrose took the Welsh out-half down.

First, Ringrose worked from the far side of the initial scrum as Wales centre Joe Hawkins made a big dent with his carry.


And then Ringrose initially bit in towards the Welsh forwards close to the ruck before recovering out to pull off a tackle on Biggar that allowed James Lowe to win a crucial turnover penalty.


Here’s how the Ireland outside centre computed that brilliant bit of defence.

“It’s something France can do well as well but, in terms of Wales, when you are defending in the 22, they can throw that wider pass from nine [scrum-half],” explains Ringrose.

“When they’re at their best, they get on top of you and just play quick. I was probably conscious of Jac Morgan [number six] who we looked at during the week in terms of how much of a carry threat he was. So when he was coming around the corner, that was probably at the forefront of my mind, and then it was Tomos Williams who played it across him so I was lucky to be able to just about keep my feet and grab Biggar.

“I think he checked as well to look for the pass early. I don’t think he realised he had the time he did which just gave me an extra split second to be able to grab him. It was probably in the back of my mind from the prep in the lead-up to the game.”

Ringrose connected with Biggar in a huge tackle later in the game, hammering into the Welshman’s ribs just after he had passed the ball. This is the kind of tackle commonly referred to as a ‘rib tickler.’


It was a legal tackle and Ringrose certainly left a mark.

“I guess it helped that he opened himself up because he was throwing the wide pass to the edge. I knew I had Stu [McCloskey] outside me and Lowey [James Lowe] on the edge, even he was sitting off a little bit, he could have been a fraction more up,” explains Ringrose.

“So when you have that security on the outside… for me, it was probably just assessing George North [who passed to Biggar] and assessing that he had the front-door option outside him.

“As soon as he [North] released it, that gave me a licence to go and try and hit him [Biggar].

“I mean I could have gone a bit quicker and ideally he wouldn’t get the ball away but, as I said, I know I have licence to do that when the boys are in good positions outside me.”


After smashing Biggar, Ringrose almost immediately moved to check on the Welsh playmaker, who took some time to get back to his feet.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of hits like that as well and he’s a good sport,” says Ringrose.

“He took it alright.”


There has been a noticeable bite to Ringrose’s tackling this season. He explains that it’s something he focuses on every single day in training.

Even when Leinster and Ireland aren’t doing contact training, Ringrose has a ‘could have’ mentality whereby he puts himself into defensive positions where he feels he could have landed an impactful tackle.

He does technical work in the ‘extras’ windows before and after training too, working with team-mates wearing pads, as well as reviewing his games in detail with coaches. 

Ringrose points out that he still misses more tackles than he would like. But while he doesn’t totally agree with the suggestion that there is “venom” in his tackles, Ringrose does like the physicality and aggression in the game.

“I guess I do enjoy that part of the game,” he says.

“I still miss plenty of tackles, so it’s always challenging myself to get better, but I suppose when you physically impose yourself or get involved in something… there is no venom against the opposition, but I guess it’s an opportunity when you don’t have the ball to show how much it means to you.

liam-williams-and-garry-ringrose Ringrose enjoys the defensive side of the game. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

“We would all be encouraged to do that defensively. For me, it’s about trying to get the technique and miss as little tackles as possible, but then with the tackles you are making, trying to have as big an impact as possible is always the goal.”

While Ringrose enjoys the chance to make strong front-on tackles, much of his best work is done when Ireland’s defence is stretched and he has to ‘jockey’ or drift across the pitch, covering large areas of grass at high speed in order to scrag attacking players.

It has long been suggested that outside centre is the most difficult position on the pitch to defend, but it’s what Ringrose knows best now.

“For me, I feel far more comfortable in the 13 channel than beside a ruck,” he says.

“I’m a bit more used to seeing pictures out there and feeling it.”

Ireland will need all of Ringrose’s defensive nous on Saturday against France.

Get instant updates on your province on The42 app. With Laya Healthcare, official health and wellbeing partner to Leinster, Munster and Connacht Rugby.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel