King of the ring

Use a game of “King of the ring” to encourage better tackles which dominate the ball carrier.

Reward strong, successful front-on tackles where the tackle is completed and the ball carrier is driven back over their line. It encourages getting off the defensive starting line to make the tackle. This reduces the space as quickly as possible. The attacker still has an incentive as they want to make the tackle impossible or as difficult as possible.

  1. Set up as many 5m boxes as you have pairs of players. There is clearly a hierarchy of boxes, with a top to a bottom box.
  2. Split the players into pairs and randomly assign them to each box.

  1. One player starts as the attacker (with a ball) and the other a defender.
  2. Start each player at each end of the box. Shout “go”. That’s a signal for the attacker to move forward when they are ready. If they haven’t moved after 5 seconds, they automatically forfeit and the defender gains 5 points.
  3. The defender can only move when the attacker steps forward.

Score the following points:

  • 5pts for tackle beyond ball carrier’s line
  • 3pts for tackle out the sides
  • 1pt for tackle over own line
  • 0pt for no tackle
  1. Swap roles and repeat.
  2. The players compare scores. The winner moves up a box, the loser down a box. Draws are decided by one round of Rock. Paper, Scissors.
  3. The Top Court winner stays put.


In previous sessions, you will have focused on the tackle basics: head safe, shoulder contact, arm hold (tight grip), leg drive.

It can be dominated by bigger or stronger players. So, progress and challenge: Change the space to give stronger players more room to cover and more room for the attacker.

Or have the tackler starting chest down or facing backwards.

Or let the players create their own scoring system, could almost be gambling: big players offer the small players 5 pts if they can complete a tackle in any direction, the small player offers big player 5pts for dominant tackle and 0pts for any other direction.

Have an area to offer support for those lacking the confidence to practise in a less competitive environment, support safe and confident tackling. They can drop back into the bottom group.


  • Increase attackers and/or defenders with similar points system.
  • Game: use a turnover or points if dominant tackle made.
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