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
Attacking the defence: Exploiting a fast number 8
A fast number 8 can be launched off the back of the scrum into the backline. Here’s how to exploit this.
- Place three tackle tubes in a T-Shape (or use cones or ruck pads).
- Have your number 8 (or any forward) stand at the bottom of the T with a defender on the right-hand side of the T crouched or on one knee.
- Place three lines of cones on the right of the activity to simulate width the ball carrier can go to avoid contact.
- When the number 8 is ready, they pick the ball up and try to get over a line 5m behind the defender.
- At various points, you can ask the players to work in a narrower or wider channel
- With a good dynamic runner, you may wish to narrow the area and initiate contact sooner.
- With a slow defender, you may wish to make the area wider to make them work harder across.
- Once the players have run through the activity a few times, add a second defender and a second attacker to judge your number 8s ability to read what’s happening in front of them
- By varying the widths of the area, a number 8 has to decide whether to go wide but sacrifice ground or go directly at the shoulders of the defender to make contact sooner in the hope of making effective gains in territory