EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Break through the defence

Sometimes your players will have no choice but to go through a defence because it is well organised or there is no time to pass the ball out. Your players will need to use good footwork, body positions and support players to win the ball back. This is a bread and butter session.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 5-8


What to think about

Combine work you have done previously on footwork, body positions and rucking. In your warm-up you can focus on one or two of these factors and then check the players are using them in the main activities.

One of the main issues might be how players hold the ball going into contact.

Ideally they keep it away from defenders. They can either hold the ball in two hands, close to the body, or in one hand using the other hand to fend.

Set-up

  1. Attack the edges of defenders, not the middle.
  2. Keep driving forward, don’t twist in contact.
  3. Look after the ball and if you have to go to ground, fight to get a better body position to place the ball.

What you get your players to do

Put three ruck pad holders at one end of a 5m square (see picture 1).

Instruct a feeder to pass to any of three attackers on the opposite side of the box. The ball carrier has to step to the edge of the ruck pad holder to get through. If he is blocked then he either goes to ground, offloads or gets driven through the gap (see picture 2).

Make sure the feeder does not always pass to the middle player.

Three ruck pad holders coming forward as a feeder prepares to pass to one of the three attackers.

Three ruck pad holders coming forward as a feeder prepares to pass to one of the three attackers.


Development

Take away the middle ruck pad, so the defender can tackle. That should encourage the ball carrier to aim away from the middle.

Change the width of the box, so attackers have more or less room to manoeuvre.

The receiver uses footwork to aim at a gap between the defenders. He can offload, break through or go to ground with support.

The receiver uses footwork to aim at a gap between the defenders. He can offload, break through or go to ground with support.


Game situation

Set up three attackers, a feeder and three defenders in a 10m wide channel, as in picture 3.

Play live rugby until the ball is turned over or the attack makes a break. The feeder can run with the ball, meaning the inside defender has to guard the ruck pad. You can check that the attack changes angles and offers speed onto the ball.

Work on the defence coming forward from the feed as well.

Where the feeder can pass, or run, with the attackers choosing angles and support to get over the gain line. Work on the defence coming forward to protect the gain line.

Where the feeder can pass, or run, with the attackers choosing angles and support to get over the gain line. Work on the defence coming forward to protect the gain line.


What to call out

  • “Lots of talk into the contact”
  • “Get low through the contact”
  • “If you are not the ball carrier, keep your depth to offer better options”
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