Lean forward into contact

The best players use footwork before the tackle. But if they have to go through close contact, they lean forward and drive through with short, powerful steps. Replicate these skills with these drills.

A ball carrier benefits from leaning forward with his weight beyond his hips. Work on the best lean for players so they can stay on their feet no matter the resistance.

  1. Put two ruck-pad holders at the end of a 5m square about arm’s distance apart.
  2. A ball carrier starts at the other end and runs at one pad holder, then drives through the gap between the two (the pad holders walk forward). He aims to smash through and out the other side.
  3. Next, the pad holders start further into the box so the carrier has to accelerate quicker, as if he’s taking a late pass near the gain line.

  1. Check that the carrier leans forward close to contact.
  2. They are upright before contact then lean as they are close, tucking the ball tight to their body.

  1. Finally, put three attackers in a larger box, with a feeder on the side.
  2. Facing them are two defenders.
  3. The feeder passes to the middle attacker, who aims to break through.
  4. If he can’t, he can offload or go to ground.
  5. The support players can drive him through contact, take the offload or win the ruck.


  • Footwork before contact.
  • Short steps into contact.
  • Lean forward, keeping the ball tight to the body.

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