Develop your players’ running and pass lines to challenge defences to keep square. If they don’t, you will bust their line. If they do keep square, you will find space on the outside.
FIXING A RIGHT ANGLE
Imagine the ball moving on along a line and then changing direction at a right angle. It moves along that new line, before it changes direction again, at a right angle. These angles are all relative to the attacking teams try line.
In reality, the ball carrier is running straight and then passing flat. The next player is running straight and will then pass flat. All the running is done at pace. All the passes are sharp.
A ball carrier who runs straight forces a defender to move into their path to stop them. A supporting player who is running straight forces a defender who is marking them to keep “square”. In both cases, that means the defenders aren’t able to move quickly laterally.
A fast, flat pass also gives less time to a defender to move off their line.
If the passes are flat and wide enough, if they can’t pass to a player in space the ball carrier will be able to take on a defender 1 v 1. Because the defender is isolated and perhaps square to the attacker, the ball carrier can attack the edge of the defender, creating a chance to bust the line, pass out of the tackle if not, or certainly set a target for the next ruck.
The first attacker runs straight and passes flat. Note that they pass earlier than normal.
The second attacker runs straight, takes the pass and then passes flat.
The third attacker runs straight and at pace.
Running straight and passing flat holds defenders and creates space on the outside. If the defender moves off, then the ball carrier can go forward through the gap
RIGHT ANGLES FROM THE NEXT PHASE
From the next phase of play, with the attack playing with right angles again, unless the ball is particularly slow from the ruck, either the defence will offer spaces between themselves or on the outside.
BLOCKS ARE RIGHT ANGLES
A block play has a runner attacking a defender, but the pass is behind then. The receiver arrives from behind the block player. Quite often, the block player runs into towards the pass. This doesn’t engage the defender enough, who simply maintains their line. Therefore, all the players apart from the receiver are running straight up the pitch. The receiver should take the pass close to the right angle before straightening up to go through the gap.
The first attacker runs straight and passes flat.
The second attacker runs straight, pulls back the pass to the attacker behind the line, who takes it on the right angle.
The block runner runs straight, offering a receiving option.
The fourth attacker must run straight and hard to keep the defender engaged.
KEY POINT FOR RIGHT ANGLES
Hold the defender by running hard up the pitch and straight.
Pass fast and pass flat.
Pull the supporter onto the ball.
Reduce the amount of hip swivel in the pass. Run to support after the pass.
Work on the backs’ fitness while working on their running lines and drift defence. It’s competitive and they will make every effort to break the line each time.
The session focuses the players on realignment – with the players being dropped out of the line at each phase, there needs to be good communication on who is first receiver and what lines to run. MORE
Work on the roles and skills of the attackers and defenders closest to the tackle area in a tight space. This activity puts the players in game-like situations to look for solutions.
Though there are some principles to follow, this activity will give the players an opportunity to try out different ideas. Expect messy outcomes. MORE
Work from left to right and back a number of times up a channel, aiming to keep possession and go forward at the same time.
It is a tactic that can be used to retain possession when running down the clock or to set up a drop goal. MORE
Encourage support players to be ready to follow the ball carrier through the line break, either to take an offload or if there is a clean break, ready to take the next pass.
Line breaks can be anywhere along the defensive line. Create scenarios for the players to react and support.