Shuffling and cross-over steps are essential skills for a defender to react to a change of direction of an attacker. Work on these in the development of your players’ tackling progression. MORE
Three man D
A basic defensive system works around the cohesion of units of three players. If the players drift apart, any defensive line can be breached with good pace and angles by the attack. Of course the attack will attempt to disrupt the unit, so this session works on keeping the three defenders together in different attack situations.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 20-25
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 7-10
What to think about
- Are the three defenders beaten on the outside?The three defenders may be going up too quickly. If the attack is passing fast it can be difficult to change direction. Slow them down as they get closer to the attack, but make sure they stay on their toes taking smaller steps. This will enable them to adapt and change direction quickly.
- Are the players coming forward as a group or as individuals?Introduce a set procedure that initiates the move forward for the group. It could be the player closest to the source of the ball calls “hands on” to initiate the forward movement.
- Move quickly forward as the clearing passer touches the ball with his hands.
- Position yourself to see both the ball and the attacking formation.
- Look at the attacking alignment to work out what they are likely to do.
What you get your players to do
Split your players into a group of three defenders and five attackers plus a scrum half (9). Mark out with cones the outline of a scrum and a “no go area” beside the scrum.
The attacking five players receive a pass from the scrum and attack in any way they wish, such as moving it wide or attacking up the middle.
The defensive three have to adjust and cope with the extra attacking players and any move or ploy they use.
- Condition the attacking group to do the same move several times until the defenders recognise it, before moving on to another move.
- Ask the defending group before each attack to look at the attacking formation and work out the most likely move and danger players.
- Move the scrum starting position to various points on the pitch – left, middle and right.
- Add a couple of forwards to defend from the scrum.
- Set up the same practice from a lineout.
Split into two teams, starting with three defenders and five attackers on the pitch. The attack starts from an imaginary scrum, with the three defenders having to stop it. As soon as a tackle is made add an extra attacker and defender.
Add another two after the next tackle until it becomes a game of eight attackers and six defenders. Each time a try is scored start again with a 5 v 3 set up.
What to call out
- “Look for the 9’s hands on the ball to go”
- “Point at the attackers, especially the likely receiver”
- “Call out who you have covered and who is getting the ball”