"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
No escape 1 v 1
By slightly disrupting the starting points for players, they don’t have so much time to focus on the process, which means more game realistic outcomes for tackling and attacking footwork.
Lots of tackling in a small area works on technique and confidence. It also works on go forward skills.
- Put two players between the 3m cones. One player holds the other by the wrist and they pull in opposite directions.
- When the holding player lets go, they both run around the cone to the side of them, turn and run into the 3m x 2m box.
- The third player passes the ball to one of the players.
- The ball carrier aims to make it to the other side without being tackled so they end up outside the box.
- Change roles after each attack.
- Get two groups of attackers and defenders working at the same time.
- The second group moves when the first group is released. Defenders work as a team to stop the two attackers.
- Start with the attackers in scrum positions. One of the players is the “starter” and shouts “break” before the run.
- Defender: Keep coming forward inside the box and keep the eyes open into the tackle.
- Attacker: Use footwork before the tackle.