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
Hitting the wall (of noise)
Defenders must be ready to take the man in front of them. This session focuses on man-to-man marking, so the attack feels like it is running into a wall of defenders.
It requires good footwork and working with the other defenders to make sure there are no holes in that wall.Defenders must be very noisy at all times, constantly telling team mates who they are marking.
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
Most of the tackles in this session will be made on attackers who have not built up much momentum, most likely from the side of rucks.
Defenders must create a “wall of noise” to help pressurise the attack. This is simply each defender shouting out who they are marking. Less experienced players will find this hard at first. It may even reduce their technical effort as they concentrate on calling out. However, they will find that the more they talk, the more confident they will become. It will encourage them and their team mates to be in good positions to take on the attack.
- Get in front of “your” man.
- Close down his space as you move up with your team mates.
- Step into the tackle to win the collision.
What you get your players to do
Split into pairs, or small groups, with one player holding a ruck pad. Put the ruck pad holder 2m away from a defender in a 1m wide channel. On your call, the two come forward and the defender executes a driving tackle at hip height or below into the ruck pad holder. Swap roles (see picture 1).
Develop by making the ruck pad holder step one pace left or right, forcing the defender to change shoulders to make the contact.
Put three defenders at one end of a 10m x 2m box, with three ruck pad holders wandering around at the other end (or just outside). When you shout “GO” the ruck pad holders try to get over the line where the defenders are (see picture 2).
Put two pairs of defenders at the corner of a 25m x 10m box with four attackers at the other end.
Get a 9 to run to a nominated ball at one edge of the box. As he runs to it, the defenders come through a 15m gate (use tackle tubes to mark the edges).
As soon as he can,the 9 passes the ball to the attackers, who aim to score where the defenders come from (see picture 3). Use full tackling and stop if a ruck/maul forms.
Adjust the starting positions of defenders to give them more or less time, also to mix up their arrival times (like three from one side).
What to call out
- “Light on your feet before you make the tackle”
- “Same foot as shoulder to make the initial impact and then drive”