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
Defend in threes and fours
Build a defence ethic by defending in threes and fours. Players will have to cover narrow and wide spaces, improving their tackling and communication.
Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 8-10
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-7
What to think about
The defence has to deal with different threats under pressure. This can affect players’ concentration when getting into the line. Get your players to make as much noise as possible to convince themselves, you and the opposition that they are ready to defend aggressively as a unit.
- Spread out to cover the space but no further than 3m apart.
- Go up together as a line.
- Call out who you have got covered.
- Make a tackle!
What you get your players to do
Set up your players as in picture 1 with one player and ball next to a wide gate of cones and another next to a narrow gate of cones. The distances between the cones should reflect the age and ability of the player.
Shout which set of cones the defenders have to run to – “NARROW” or “WIDE”. The defenders run and set up to cover this gate. When the player by that gate bends down to touch the ball – simulating a 9 retrieving the ball from a ruck or scrum – the defenders move forward to tackle the ruck pad holders, leaving the last defender free. Defenders return to the middle to repeat the exercise.
Set up a 6v4 as in picture 2 with coloured cones (green or blue) to indicate a narrow or wide area to cover. Shout out which colour the attackers must get past while the defence starts from the red gate. Start with touch tackling to check the line is working. Then move on to full contact.
Play 8v4. Start at the side of the pitch and say whether the next attack is wide or narrow (see picture 3). To start, the ball must be passed off the ground and the defence has to be at least 2m from it. Play full contact rugby and stop if a ruck or maul forms.
What to call out
“Stay onside and call out what player you are tackling”
“Look ahead and still know who is next to you”
“Move up together”