EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

The 5Fs for ball carriers

The battle that takes place after the tackle is one of the most underappreciated areas of the game. The 5 F’s give you some ideas as to what to develop in players to gain an attacking advantage in these scenarios.

In many instances, we see the attacker as a passive participant in the tackle until they get to the ground. However, in a number of games, it’s frequently the actions of the attacker in these scenarios that can make a difference to the result. 

1 FOOTWORK

We want the attacking player to use footwork in the tackle to attack the weaker space of the tackler’s shoulders. That is, if they lead with the left, we want to attack the space on the right or to avoid contact altogether. This will give us better control in the scenario.

2 FEND 

We want attackers to look to fend the leading arm of the tackler away, especially if the tackler has a ‘long armed’ tackling technique. This should reduce the effectiveness of the tackle and give the attacker an advantage.

3 FIGHT 

Once contact has been made, we don’t want the attacker to simply fall to the ground. We want to see the attacker use a leg drive to gain extra go forward and drop their body height to make completing the tackle more difficult.

4 FRONT 

We want the attacker to aim to “score a try” as they head towards the ground to generate extra space away from defenders and to resist being pushed back, which turning into the tackle can often do.

5 FINISH 

Finish in the best position. Once the attacker has hit the ground we want them to fight into a position tha enables them to get the ball back towards their own team quickly. Whether this is a “long and strong” position or a “prawn-shaped” position comes down to the preference of a coach.

So next time you’re looking at players being tackled, ensure they aren’t just along for the ride. They need to use the 5Fs to make sure they are active, making great targets for their teammates.

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