"With the return to rugby, I’m really worried that my team (U13s) will have forgotten lots of things about rugby. In particular, I’m trying to work out when and how to introduce contact and tackling." This question came from a coach in Gloucester and is typical of lots of concerns around this area of the game. It is true that the players will have "forgotten" lots of skills. Here's how I would approach this situation. On the next page are two tackling exercises to support training. MORE
Go forward not always straight
Change angles and running lines while still going forward to push and pull defences out of position. It will create half-breaks and breaks for your players to exploit.
The first principle for rugby is to go forward and at all levels of rugby this has to be the foundation on which all other aspects rugby have to be built on. This activity will help your team go forward more effectively by creating gaps and finding space through organised defences.
- Play 3 v 3 with a feeder.
- The attacking group has six attacks.
- Ask them to work out how to create gaps and put a strike player through the space.
- You can observe and give feedback after every attack.
- Three defenders come forward and use two-handed touch tackles.
- To start with the defenders should jog up (or walk up if the players need more confidence).
- Have a feeder pass the ball into the group of three players.
- You’re looking for the attack to pull defenders across the box and then put an attacker through this space on a switch play or angled run.
- The passer should attack the defender before passing the ball.
- Potential receivers should change their angles of run late.
- Once there is some success increase the size of the box and the number of players to five versus five.
- If it’s not working have the three attackers attacking static targets.
- Stress defenders by making them move out of position.
- Pull a defender across the box or fix the defender to the spot by running at them.
- Angle the run to hit the gap at pace – be ready to take a flat pass.
- Decoy players create the uncertainty in the defence and must look as though they are receiving the pass.