EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

My man: Never shirk a tackle

Defensive systems are not an excuse for individuals to miss tackles. This session puts defenders in a line and then isolates one of them in order to make a tackle in their channel. This has to be run with full contact to make sure players match up correctly.


Warm up time: 5
Session time: 6-9
Development time: 6-9
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7


What to think about

Your team’s defence is only as strong as its weakest link. This session forces players to make tackles in front of their peers. This can work both ways: It might inspire some players where other becomes despondent.

There are two ways to deal with this: First, shorten the distance between ball receiver and tackler. Second, reward half tackles. However, do not let the poor tackler fail to step up to the mark to make the tackle.

Set-up

  1. Match up either opposite or to the inside of your opposite man.
  2. When the attacker has the ball close down the space quickly and bring him to ground.

What you get your players to do

Put three attackers and three defenders next to three channels. Get them to run round to face each other across the channels. As soon as attackers are in position either you or a scrum half passes to one of the attackers. He has to score in his channel while the defender has to tackle him to ground. Give the attacker three seconds to score.

The attackers and defenders run around and line up opposite each other.

The attackers and defenders run around and line up opposite each other.


Development

Change sides, so attackers and defenders are coming from a different angle.

Make some of the channels wider.

Reduce or increase the length of the channels.

Get defenders to start from the corners of their channels (like a drift defence might).

The ball is passed to one of the attackers who aims to beat his opposite man in that channel.

The ball is passed to one of the attackers who aims to beat his opposite man in that channel.


Game situation

Split into equal teams of four or five-a-side (no more). Each defender has a nominated attacker. Only that defender can tackle that attacker.

The attacking team has three tackles in which to score. Infringements and using up the tackle count leads to a turnover. After a tackle, both players get to their feet and the attacker passes the ball away. An attacker can offload before his knees touch the ground.

One player can only tackle his nominated attacker. The attack has three tackles in which to score. Tacklers and tackled players must get to their feet before the ball is played.

One player can only tackle his nominated attacker. The attack has three tackles in which to score. Tacklers and tackled players must get to their feet before the ball is played.


What to call out

  • “Don’t get in front of the player you are marking too early”
  • “Keep going forward before you tackle, don’t plant your feet”
  • “Put your head to the side of the ball carrier – you must keep your eyes open”
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