"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
Build your team’s offloading skills in a game-related way so the passer and receiver can start to understand their options.
We know a simple offloading game can devastate defences. The players need the skills and the confidence to know how to offload and when to offload.
- Put two defenders on their knees about 5m apart.
- Put a ball carrier in front of the first defender and a support player behind the ball carrier.
- Have the attacker run at the defender, with the defender coming off his knees to tackle the ball carrier at waist height or below.
- The ball carrier aims to offload for the next player. He runs at the next defender and repeats.
- The tackled player aims to get off the ground and in position to take an offload, either before or after the tackled player lands on the ground. Swap roles.
- Put a defender in each half of the box.
- Have three attackers run into the box, with the first player taking the tackle and offloading.
- The players then run around into the second box and repeat. This continues for three circuits.
- The key is that players recycle themselves and the offloader doesn’t force a pass to a player who is not in position.
- Aim to get beyond the defender before offloading. If you can’t, turn towards your team mate.
- Hold your run in support and don’t commit to left or right until the ball carrier makes his move.