An extra split second of pressure on the opposition can be the difference between success and failure. Rugby defence is not just about defensive systems. The best defensive teams enjoy defending. They are positive in defence and loud and accurate with their communication. So, does your rugby team see defence as a chore or as a great chance to win back the ball? Use the defence drills below to get your team working together to form a more cohesive defensive unit.

How to improve defending through watertight positioning 2

Inside out

in Defence, Practice plans

Defending is about stopping the opposition taking the simplest option and making them do something more risky. Generally, the wider the attack, the riskier it is. “Inside out” will help build a defence to cut off the simple close options, making opponents take risks. It’s about trust, organisation and the players knowing their roles. MORE

Use the aggressive 9

in Defence, Rugby drills

If your scrum half is a good tackler, it’s a waste to place him behind the defensive line. So let him step up – this activity raises the intensity from Develop the front-line 9 by adding a blindside and full-on tackling. MORE

Develop the front-line 9

in Defence, Rugby drills

The scrum-half usually plays a sweeper role. But if your first line of defence is missing a player, he might have to step up to cover. Improve your 9’s defensive decision-making with this activity. MORE

How to improve defending through communication and grouping 2

Line protectors

in Defence, Practice plans

Build a team defence ethic by having players defend in threes and fours. This session is far more practical than simple “line, shout and up” type exercises, because during a match there are so many situations to cover. Players will have to cover both narrow and wide spaces, improving their tackling and communication. MORE

How to improve the defensive line 1

The weakest kink

in Defence, Practice plans

Work on defensive line speed and communication with the “weakest kink”. Defenders have to adjust their running lines to make sure they are not exposed. Instead of “drilling” the defensive lines, defenders will have to work out the solutions for themselves. A good session as well for attackers to scan where the space is. MORE

Move and tackle together

in Defence, Rugby drills

All defensive patterns require strong communication and an ability to work together as a line. Use this folding defence activity to get groups of players filling in and coming forward to tackle side-on. MORE

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