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.

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

How to protect the ball 3

Protect when outnumbered

in Defence, Practice plans

It happens frequently – a ball carrier facing two defenders is isolated from his team mates. He needs to work out how to protect the ball and await support. This session works on the roles of ball carrier and support player while developing defensive roles. MORE

VIDEO: Tackle, recover

in Defence, Rugby drills, Tackling

Use this tackle tube activity to focus on good technique under pressure, with lots of strong repetitions and enough distractions to keep the players fully aware of their team mates in the defensive line. This is low-impact exercise is ideal to develop the technical aspects of the skill. MORE

How to improve tackling 2

My man: Never shirk a tackle

in Defence, Practice plans, Tackling

Defensive systems are not an excuse for individuals to miss tackles. This session puts defenders in a line and then isolates one of them in order to make a tackle in their channel. This has to be run with full contact to make sure players match up correctly. MORE

How to approach tackles as the second man 2

Key man: Second into the tackle

in Defence, Practice plans, Tackling

Work on the role of the second player at the tackle. He can either help make the tackle or attempt to go for the ball. It will depend on the relative strengths of the ball carrier, the first tackler and the angle that the second tackler arrives from. MORE

How to secure the ball in the tackled area 1

First person protector

in Defence, Practice plans, Tackling

Winning the space over the tackled player is a key factor in winning quick ruck ball or disrupting an opponent’s attacking ball. Reaction training comes from creating slightly unusual positions for players to work from, so they have to make more quick decisions. MORE

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