Avoid slow ball at the tackle or even losing the ball by making every ball carrier far more active on the ground. Use these two exercises to build up players’ ball placement skills under pressure. After the tackle is made, the farther away your player can place the ball from the defence, the harder it is for the opposition to disrupt it. Encourage good placement habits with these exercises. MORE
Make sure you retain the ball if the ball carrier is isolated. The ball carrier has to be strong and active so he does not go to ground easily. His supporting players need to get into position quickly and use a range of clear out skills to protect and potentially rescue the ball.
Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-8
What to think about
When the ball carrier finds himself outnumbered, he needs to keep “active” before support players arrive. He can do this by wrestling with the ball to make it a moving target and using a wide stance in the contact area while still moving around.
You need to referee this session because it would be in a match. Be tough on the ball carrier not releasing, or players coming in from the side. There is little to be gained from players taking short cuts that would be penalised in a normal match.
- Ball carrier: Be strong on the ball and work hard to make the ball difficult to steal.
- Support players: Recognise threats as you arrive at the contact area and drive them up and out of the way.
What you get your players to do
Put three attackers facing you between two cones 10m apart. Put two defenders about a metre behind. Get the attackers to move from side to side with the defenders marking them. Throw the ball to an attacker, who turns and runs forward with it (see picture A1).
The defence tackles the ball carrier and tries to steal the ball. In the meantime, the two other attackers run around the nearest cone and then enter the contest to win back the ball (see picture A2).
They might find they have to run backwards to rescue the situation. Stop when the ball has been clearly won or lost.
Put a feeder and receiver about 1m from a 5m gate, facing two defenders. Put two attackers and another defender about 5m to the side and 2m behind the gate (see picture B).
When the feeder passes to the receiver, he has to run through the gate, with the feeder supporting him. All the other players work to join the contact area, working on recovering from behind the gain line.
Split players into groups of three. Put two players from each group on the corners of a 10m square and one each in the middle (see picture C). The players on the corners start from a deliberately offside position and must assist their ball carrier/ tackler legally.
Throw the ball to one of the players in the middle. He tries to score at the far end. The other players run into the box to support. Play until the first ruck is won or lost – or there is an infringement.
What to call out
- “Drive forward with the ball to give a target”
- “Fight to the ground with the ball, trying to gain extra ground”
- “Supporters: Arrive from behind the ball carrier to be able to drive threats out and away”