EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Keeping your defensive line straight

These drills also get your rugby players to stay opposite the player they are going to tackle. This is a good rugby coaching session for sorting out "lazy" defenders who do not move forward with the rest of the line.

The objective is to see a line of defenders moving up and back together, while keeping the spacing between themselves constant.

What to get your players to do

Drill 1

  • Two sides with equal numbers of players line up opposite each other. You stand behind one line, the defenders.
  • You direct the attackers to move left and right. The defenders must mirror the attackers' movements and stay opposite their man.
  • When you put both hands up, the attackers move forward. The defenders have to move up to meet them and make the tackle.

Development

  • Have one more defender than attacker and give the attackers a ball. The attackers pass the ball up and down the line until they make a space to move forward into. The player with the ball must be tackled by two defenders.

Drill 2

  • Four players line up between two cones. They call "SET, HOLD, UP" (or whatever calls your team uses in defence). They then move up (you determine the pace) as a straight line to another pair of cones five metres away.
  • Repeat the rugby drill, increasing the gap to 20 metres, making sure the line stays straight and the spaces between the players remain the same.
Development
  • Vary the width of the pairs of cones. This makes the players change their spacing while moving forward.

  • Introduce a "trigger" for the players to move (for instance you hold up a ball). This makes the players watch for a movement before moving up.

  • Increase the speed at which the players move.
How would I put this into a game situation?
Multi-ruck game
  • Set out three "rucks" (piles of tackle bags) and number them 1, 2, and 3. Put a ball at the back of each.

  • Split your players into two equal teams, attackers and defenders.

  • Call out a number, 1 to 3. The teams move to that ruck and try to win the ball. The defence must move up in a straight line and at the same speed.

  • Once the attack is stopped or is successful (for instance crosses over the gain line), call a new number. The players have to run to that ruck, leaving the first ball behind.

This article is taken from the Better Rugby Coaching e-newsletter. Click here to sign up and get free rugby drills and skills twice a week.

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