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.

Ruck defence: Who’s marking who?

in Defence, Rugby drills

With the breakdown such a contentious area and laws favouring the attack, organised defence is vital. The breakdown is the start point for defence so it can dominate the attack. The easiest and most obvious place to attack is immediately around the ball after a tackle. By using this activity you can cut down easy attacking metres and set a solid foundation for defending. MORE

How to develop the tackling technique 1

Defence boxers

in Defence, Footwork and evasion, Practice plans

Use boxing-style footwork and arm movements to improve your players’ tackling. The players stay light on their feet, keep their arms active before “punching” like a jab towards the ball carrier, arms going to the side, shoulder engaging and head going into the side. MORE

How to promote support in contact 1

Winning the support race

in Attack, Defence, Practice plans

There are many one-on-one races in a match. One is for the space around the ball carrier as he arrives at contact. Remove his options to pass and he has to go to ground. Win the race to get over the ball and then there is a chance of a turnover. This sessions looks at attack and defence options in support. MORE

United we defend

in Defence, Rugby drills

Challenge your defenders to come up together as a line and then shift together as a unit depending on the alignment of attack. The inside player leads up the defence and the other defenders move up and out when he does. The staggered line of “attackers” replicates the likely position of the tackle line in a match. MORE

How to develop a good tackling technique 3

Tackling corners

in Defence, Practice plans, Tackling

A simple session to help players work on the tackle that is something between front-on and side-on. It develops into a defensive system in which three defenders work together to prevent an overlap attack. MORE

How to improve ruck defence 1

Simplest ruck defence

in Defence, Practice plans

Make sure your ruck defenders make gain line tackles to stop an attack making easy ground. It requires good body positions (low and dynamic), plus the discipline not to drift out. Put into a game context quickly with the developments and game situation. MORE

VIDEO: 2 v 1 defence constraint

in Defence, Rugby drills

The Jordanian Sevens team practise a 2 v 1 at the end of their session. They are experimenting with a constraint where the defender isn't allowed to come further forward than a certain line. What can the defender do differently? MORE

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