Attacking the space between two defenders in a close proximity means a good chance of a double tackle. Instead, attack one defender and beat just them.
In a tight defence, though the space between the defenders seems more attractive, it means that those two players step in to double team the ball carrier.
Against an organised defence, you can use closely packed groups of forwards to dent the line and then attack the recovering, disorganised defence. Often known as pods, this requires organisation, especially around the roles of the players in terms of carrying the ball and supporting that ball carrier.
In its simplest format, after a set-piece like a scrum or lineout, the forwards who were not involved in winning the ball back after the first tackle, realign to take the next pass. This is in the expectation that the backline doesn't penetrate the line the first time. MORE
Use this activity to improve players’ ability to scan what’s in front of them. It will allow the players to develop their footwork options before contact or in open play.
All the targets are in front of the ball carrier, so they will need to go forward but still avoid the defender. MORE
"With the return to rugby, I’m really worried that my team (U13s) will have forgotten lots of things about rugby. In particular, I’m trying to work out when and how to introduce contact and tackling."
This question came from a coach in Gloucester and is typical of lots of concerns around this area of the game.
It is true that the players will have "forgotten" lots of skills.
Here's how I would approach this situation. On the next page are two tackling exercises to support training.
Make sure your players use the right footwork to power through the contact area and then manipulate the ball so they can offload or present the ball cleanly.
Though power and aggression are important in the contact area, the ball carrier also needs to be technically accurate to ensure good continuity. MORE
Work on good setups and movement, jumping and organisation in your lineout pods with this dynamic activity. It should mix up roles of your players.
Let players try out different roles, even if it’s not perfect. That allows players to realise what works for all those involved in the lineout lift and jump. MORE
Make more of poor opposition kicks with this session. Also, work on what your defence might do when you do make a poor kicking decision.
Most matches have poor kicks. Use these training scenarios to practise your team’s reactions and decision making. MORE
Introduce players of mixed ability to contact by building up the skills through games and questioning.
I’ve found that using this progression of activity, the players develop contact skills together. You can adjust the pitch sizes and timings to suit your players. MORE
This session will help players highlight their core skills under pressure. It works especially on short passes when the ball carrier is running “offline”.
Offline means the passer is either running towards the intended receiver or away. MORE