Get your defensive structure right at the breakdown to ensure you don’t give away easy metres. Your players need to know their responsibilities to stop opponents “going through the guts”. MORE
VIDEO: Funnel defence for line speed
To help your defenders appreciate the value of racing up quickly, give them a hand in training by restricting the space the attack can operate in. Watch our video and then try our simple exercise…
Cutting down the attacking options with good line speed.
HOW TO DO IT
- Mark out a funnel 10m in length. It should be 8m wide at one end, tapering to 2m at the narrow end.
- Put three attackers at the narrow end and two defenders at the wide end.
- When you say “go”, the attackers aim to score at the far end while the defenders aim to touch the ball carrier or force an error.
- To develop, make it full contact.
WHAT TO CALL OUT
- “Come up together”
- “Communicate so players know who’s covering who”
- “Keep balanced with elbows in”
Get off the line quickly to narrow the attackers’ space.
Two defenders advancing quickly will close down the attackers’ time and space, but only if they come up together. They must be “connected”, which means making a link which can’t be broken through the middle.
What that space is depends on the defenders’ skills. This is why “funnel defence” is a good exercise. With quick line speed, the outsides are covered because the funnel narrows. And if the defenders are connected, there should be no way through the middle.
A SIMPLE PRACTICE
Put three defenders in a 15m square, about 10m from one end.
Start a wave of four attackers just outside the box, taking a pass from a feeder 5m inside the box.
Using full tackling, the defenders have to prevent the attackers scoring at the far end.
Allow offloads but not rucks.
The defenders score one point for stopping a try and three points if they stop the attack crossing the gain line (in line with the feeder).