EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Creative defence

Challenge defenders to work in pairs but from different starting angles and distances from the attack. They will have to make decisions about whether to “manage” the attack by drifting or to close it down before it can spread the ball wide.


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

This is a simple session to set up but the decisions to be made are quite sophisticated. Run at full pace and use contact to get the most benefit. Therefore, it is a good session-ender and can be used as a fitness/ conditioning session with a couple of boxes working at once.

Make it a real competition for the attack to cross the end line. For instance, see how many consecutive, successful attack attempts can be made. Keep the time between attempts limited, so players have to recover quickly and keep their concentration levels up.

The session challenges players to decide who to tackle and what sort of tackle to use. The closer defence is to attack, the more chance they can use “aggressive” tackles to drive the attack back. If the attack has more of a run-up, then soak-up tackles are better.

Set-up

  1. Identify who you are defending and how: Inside man calls the “drift”, the outside man the “blitz”.
  2. Close down the space if you can in defence but don’t get drawn into the tackle too early.

What you get your players to do

Put two defenders inside one half of a 20m x 10m box and three attackers at one end with a feeder to the side. Shout out to the defenders which line (“5m” or “10m”) and which cones to start from (see pictures 1 and 2).

Then release the attack. Playing full contact, the defence has to prevent the attack getting to the try line. Give defenders three goes before swapping.

Tell the two defenders to start at the cones on the back line (in this case A and D). Once they reach the cones, release the attack. Play full tackling.

Tell the two defenders to start at the cones on the back line (in this case A and D). Once they reach the cones, release the attack. Play full tackling.


Development

Add an attacker next to the feeder who supports the tackled player – perhaps looking for an offload or to clear the defender.

Make the box wider and add a defender by the feeder who supports the defence.

Tell the two defenders to come to the cones on the middle line.

Tell the two defenders to come to the cones on the middle line.


Game situation

Put three defenders at the corner of a 35m x 10m box and four attackers with a feeder at the other end. Indicate which the length of the try line the defenders have got to mark (A =15m, B=25m or C=35m).

Give the defenders a couple of seconds to adjust and then play with full tackling. Adjust how close the defenders start to the feeder.

You tell defenders the length of the try line to defend. Give them time to adjust and then release the attack. (Adjust the distance from the feeder the defenders can start from).

You tell defenders the length of the try line to defend. Give them time to adjust and then release the attack. (Adjust the distance from the feeder the defenders can start from).


What to call out

  • “Clear communication and then move together”
  • “Inside player, move up with your outside player, so listen for their call and don’t get isolated”
  • “Complete the tackle – get to your feet to challenge for the ball or slow down a clear out”
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