Develop an aggressive defence

Coaching the blitz defence

In a blitz defence the idea is to pressurise the attacking side into making a mistake as soon as the ball leaves the breakdown.

Because it is a high-risk strategy, players must have good communication and discipline. They must also be aware that the system leaves the team exposed to the chip kick.

What you tell your players this coaching session is about

  • Developing a blitz defence from a basic defensive system.
  • Creating a situation where you can rugby tackle the ball carrier with two players.

Rugby coaching session to get players building an aggressive blitz defence


What you get your players to do in the drill

Start with one feeder, one attacker and one defender in a 5 metre square. The feeder starts halfway up the edge of one side of the square and feeds to the attacker who starts in the middle of one end.

The defender stands on a corner at the other end and only moves once the ball is passed. Initially use a touch tackle, then increase the speed and intensity of the contact.

What you tell your players to do

  • Move up quickly, aiming to take man and ball, but always with support.
  • Cut down their options by stepping into the attacking line, not shifting across.

Drill development

  • Add another attacker, so the first receiver can pass.
  • Practise with a 3 v 2 in an 8 metre square.

A game situation

Line up five attackers against four defenders in a 40 metre wide pitch. Put a ruck pad as the back of a ruck halfway up one edge of the pitch and another ruck pad in the middle. The attackers pass the ball out and the defenders defend using a touch tackle.

Once a ball carrier has been touched, the players move onto the next ruck pad where you release a second ball after three to five seconds.

The game now becomes live, with the defence aiming to blitz the attack. The attack tries to score from the first “touch” phase, keeping the defence working hard.

Click here for a rush defence rugby drill to use with your players.

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