If your scrum half is a good tackler, it’s a waste to place him behind the defensive line. So let him step up – this activity raises the intensity from Develop the front-line 9 by adding a blindside and full-on tackling. MORE
Defending is about stopping the opposition taking the simplest option and making them do something more risky. Generally, the wider the attack, the riskier it is. “Inside out” will help build a defence to cut off the simple close options, making opponents take risks. It’s about trust, organisation and the players knowing their roles.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 8-12
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-7
What to think about
As a general rule, you want to get your big forwards defending close to the breakdown and your smaller, quicker players defending wider channels.
However, it’s not always easy and players need to be comfortable defending in different ways depending on where they find themselves on the pitch.
The two golden rules of defensive organisation are;
- Players should never have to run behind each other to move position. Instead, they move in or out one place at a time until they get into the correct position.
- 2. Once set, the two players closest to the sides of the ruck on either side (the guards) NEVER move. The other defenders move behind them to get into position.
- Get the players next to the ruck (“guards”) in position at the breakdown first and organise the defence out from there.
- Never move the guards once set.
- Push bigger, slower players towards the breakdown and quicker players move out.
What you get your players to do
Set up nine players to defend a ruck, specifying your guards and the player behind the ruck, “the post”. Then send the players away to do a handling exercise or small game.
When you blow your whistle, the players return and have to set up in their defensive positions as quickly as possible. Call left or right and an extra player has to move over to that side to defend. You can have more than one group working at a time – number them and call the group number to come and defend.
Add some attackers. Once the defence is set, the attackers run a play. Call the number of defenders to go into the ruck (they can’t compete for the ball). The rest have to realign and defend the next phase.
Play a game of two-handed touch where one team keep possession for three minutes. Half of the defending team wear a bib. Two bibbed players cannot defend next to each other at any time. Once a player has made a touch, he has to run back round his own posts and rejoin the game.
The rest of the defenders have to reorganise so there are no two bibbed players next to each other. If the attacking team do attack two bibbed players next to each other, they get a point.
What to call out
- “Guards in position first”
- “Post – be in charge of the organisation”
- “Never move the guards once set”
- “Only ever move one space at a time and never cross another defender”