Get your defensive structure right at the breakdown to ensure you don’t give away easy metres. Your players need to know their responsibilities to stop opponents “going through the guts”. MORE
Combat the flow
From successive rucks many teams simply keep attacking in the same direction until they have exhausted all the space. This draws in so many defenders they struggle to cover across for the next attack. This session looks at how to deal with this.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 20-25
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 7-10
What to think about
In this session your players know that the attack is always going with the flow, so they should quickly become competent at getting two defenders to the far side of the breakdown situation.
Does your team have a policy on who marks who at the ruck? For instance, the closest two defenders may cover the first couple of metres and the next defender the opposition player standing at 10.
As things develop, ensure you cover against an attack that unexpectedly comes back the opposite way.
- Always have two defenders either side of the ruck. As the next ruck forms, slide across.
- Keep “sliding” across to the far side in defence while the attack keeps going the same way.
What you get your players to do
Set up in pairs with six attackers with ruck pads and six defenders as in the top picture. The defenders in front of the first pair of attackers moves forward to make contact. As they make contact, the other defenders slide across behind them.
The next pair of defenders moves forward against the next set of pads, and the rest of defenders slide across. After the second impact the pad holders also slide across, to create a continuous movement across the pitch.
- Add four more attackers and four more defenders.
- Slide three players across instead of two.
- Take away the ruck pads and have live tackling and contact.
- Allow the attacking team to come back the opposite way once, to keep the defence on its toes.
Split into teams of ten and play full contact rugby. Start with a set piece and condition the attack to always “go with the flow” and initially try to break through in the midfield.
The defence has to deal with this by sliding enough players over to at least get parity. The defence can compete for the ball at the contact points. See if your team is organised enough to cope with an attack going with the flow.
What to call out
- “Get onside and into formation”
- “Go forward and meet the attack”
- “Heads up, talk and act”
- “Slide over and get set”