EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Stepping defence

Get your players working hard on their footwork and in unison so they can come forward fast from the defensive line to cut down attacking plays from rucks.

If defenders can adjust their feet quickly while still focusing on the attack, they can sprint off the line together, rather than become disorganised.

EXERCISE

  1. Put three defenders inside the box and fingertips apart.
  2. Stand opposite the middle defender and hold a ball.
  3. If the ball is below your hips, the defenders must come forward.

  1. If it’s above your head, they must travel backwards.
  2. The middle defender must always be opposite you as you move side-to-side.
  3. The defenders must maintain their line, keeping their shoulders facing up the pitch, even if they are moving backwards.
  4. The defenders race forward when you throw the ball in the air. The next group swaps in.

GAME SITUATION

  1. Mark out three or four “rucks” with cones.
  2. Put a feeder and three attackers to the side and three defenders about 10m away.
  3. Have the feeder run to one of the rucks and put the ball down. The defenders have to match up against the attackers.
  4. The feeder can pass whenever they like. In which case the defenders come forward to make a touch tackle on the front of the ball carrier if they can.
  5. Or the feeder can pick up and run to another “ruck” and reset.
  6. Have up to four goes before swapping roles.

TECHNIQUE

  • Aim to keep the shoulders facing up the pitch all the time.
  • Don’t bunch, but keep connected.
  • Race forward together.
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