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.

Hitting the wall (of noise)

in Defence, Rugby drills

Focus on man-to-man marking, so the attack feels like it is running into a wall of defenders. It requires good footwork and working with the other defenders to make sure there are no holes in that wall. MORE

Tackler teams

in Defence, Rugby drills

This works on low tackles and the decisions of the tackler himself and the next arriving defender to maximise the chances of a turnover. MORE

Gang of three

in Defence, Rugby drills

Improve your players’ tackle technique along with understanding the role of the closest defenders both inside and outside the tackler. ACTIVITY ŒStart with just one defender running sideways and then forward to make a tackle The ball carrier comes forward and is tackled   DEVELOPMENT ŒDevelop by having two defenders The second defender either assists... MORE

Tackle mania

in Defence, Rugby drills

This is a session with many varied tackles in a short space of time. It works on technique, recovery to tackle again and finally defence decision making. ACTIVITY The first ball carrier runs towards a narrow gate and accepts a tackle The tackler jogs to make a side-on tackle ŽThe second ball carrier runs towards... MORE

Simplest ruck defence

in Defence, Rugby drills

Make sure your ruck defenders make gain line tackles to stop an attack making easy ground. It requires good body positions, plus the discipline not to drift out. Put into a game context quickly with the developments and game situation. ACTIVITY ŒTwo attackers try to get over the line in front of them The defenders... MORE

“Run over” turnovers

in Defence, Rugby drills

Defending at the side of the ruck provides an excellent chance for a turnover because of the closeness of defenders. If the first defender can put the attacker on the ground, the second defender can cause the turnover by quick thinking. ACTIVITY ŒAn attacker is passed a ball Defender A brings the ball carrier to... MORE

Bounce out after the tackle

in Defence, Rugby drills

Get your players used to tackling then immediately regaining their feet so they can challenge for the ball (or put themselves back in the game). Get your players used to tackling then immediately regaining their feet so they can challenge for the ball (or put themselves back in the game).   A player tackles a... MORE

Tackle targets

in Defence, Rugby drills

Keep your defenders active in training and work on a range of tackles by using this exercise that also works on confidence and technique. Put an attacker just behind a defender who is facing a ruck pad Shout a cone colour for the attacker to run around The defender runs around the ruck pad in... MORE

Get ready to blitz

in Defence, Rugby drills

Players need to position themselves outside their intended target to make sure they come from out to in on the “blitz”. This session works on alignment to blitz as pairs and threes and then how backs and forwards connect in defence. ACTIVITY A feeder passes to an attacker, who has two support players, one at... MORE

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