EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Groundwork

With sometimes 150 or so tackles made in a game a tackled player’s actions can make the difference between winning and losing. Trying to offload in the wrong situation is extremely risky, but then, so is holding or placing the ball.

Groundwork will develop the crucial decision making skills for tackled players and their supporters.


Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 15
Development time: 15-20
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7-10


What to think about

In the development section of this session you can test the decision making skills of the ball carrier. Do this by manipulating the distance of the second defender to the tackle situation.

What are the correct decisions at each distance?

If the second defender is right next to the tackle situation, the ball carrier needs to fight to stay on his feet as going to ground too quickly will mean an easy turnover.

If the defender is 5 metres away, the ball carrier should get to ground quickly, falling on his back. He should be looking for a pop pass to a support runner.

Any further away and the ball carrier should pass out of the tackle before going to ground.

Set-up

  1. Fight in the tackle to fall how you want to.
  2. Weigh up the options and execute the correct one accurately.
  3. Get close to the ball carrier and give him options when he is tackled.

What you get your players to do

Split into groups of four. Have the first player run out and place the ball down. He should then run on 2 metres and turn to become the tackler. The next player picks up the ball and attacks the defender.

The tackler must tackle from the waist down. When tackled the ball carrier places the ball back as far as he can. The next player in picks up the ball, runs on and the exercise repeats for six cycles.

Repeat with the tackled player popping the ball up to a support runner and rolling it back.

Look for good technique around the tackle area.

Look for good technique around the tackle area.


Development

Work three attacking players against a tackler and a second defender. The ball carrier goes into contact as before but this time his decision needs to be based on the proximity of the second defender.

Tell the second defender how far back to start from so he arrives at the breakdown at different times.

The support players must come from a deep starting position so they can react to the actions of the tackled player.

The support players must come from a deep starting position so they can react to the actions of the tackled player.


Game situation

Split into six attackers against four defenders. Play full contact rugby. The defending players can compete for the ball in the tackle but the defence will always be short of numbers if they do.

The attacking team only have four tackles to score after which they go back to their goal line and start again. Let one team attack five times and then switch players round.

Put a second defender at different distances away so the ball carrier has to decide how deal with the ball at the tackle.

Put a second defender at different distances away so the ball carrier has to decide how deal with the ball at the tackle.


What to call out

  • “Move the defender before contact to make the tackle less effective”
  • “Twist and turn in the tackle”
  • “If in doubt take the safest option”
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