EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Drift defence at scrums

With a 5m ruling at scrums, teams tend to use drift defence. However, they need to practise not only the mechanics of the drift but also ways to cover the gap inside the 10, who has to catch up with his openside flanker.


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


What to think about

Why is there a dog-leg between the scrum and the backline?

The openside flanker (7) is almost 7m in front of his fly half (10). When he breaks from the scrum and runs up and across at the opposition 10, there is now a gap behind him. Either he has to slow down for his own side to catch up or his own 10 needs to drift later.

Set-up

  1. Drift using the correct body positions: Looking forward, shoulders facing the opposition with the outside players able to see their own player inside them (see picture 1).
  2. Close down the space between the backline before drifting.
  3. Decide on how to co-ordinate between the openside flanker and backline in defence from a scrum.

What you get your players to do

  1. Put three of your backline in a row, with the correct spacings set up for the drift defence. Make them run up and then out and check for the correct body shape. Each player should also be slightly behind the next, so they can read the drift (see picture 1). Swap around the positions.
  2. Next, add a flanker and line up the three backline players 5m back from a scrum. Run through the drift again, with the players working out the running lines of the flanker (see picture 2).
Players move up with their shoulders facing the opposition, otherwise the attacker could step into the weak shoulder.

Players move up with their shoulders facing the opposition, otherwise the attacker could step into the weak shoulder.


Development

Add in an attacking line with a scrum half and test out the drifting options from a scrum.

Work out ways to protect the gap between the 10 and 7 from a scrum. The attack looks to exploit the gap - or bypass it.

Work out ways to protect the gap between the 10 and 7 from a scrum. The attack looks to exploit the gap - or bypass it.


Game situation

Set out three tackle tubes (or cones if you don’t have them), as in picture 3.

Now you can play “different drifts”.

Tube A represents a scrum, tubes B and C breakdowns in subsequent play.

Split players into a backline with some flankers against an attacking team of backs and forwards. Make the attackers play off a scrum.

Play two phases (unless there is a clean break) and then shout out either “B” or “C”. The attacking team then has to play the ball from the correct tube after a count of five. Defenders need to realign and drift when necessary.

The game gives you a scrum defence, an overloaded attack and an overloaded defence.

Play from a scrum (tube A), a second phase (tube B) and then another second phase (tube C) according to your call.

Play from a scrum (tube A), a second phase (tube B) and then another second phase (tube C) according to your call.


What to call out

  • “Look ahead while checking on your inside team mate”
  • “Keep in the line even after the ball has gone past. The attacking team may switch the play back.”
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