Tackle reaction

Coming in the defensive line at speed needs the players to react to possible changes in angles by attackers or late entry into the line. Use this activity to work on awareness and footwork…

Good line speed tends to increase pressure on the attack but it can cause problems for the defenders unless they can react quickly to last moment changes in the attackers. This activity keeps defenders on their toes and moving forward.


  1. Put four ruck-pad holders along one end of the box, with an attacking player with a ball behind them.
  2. Have a defender realign himself to come forward at an angle to tackle a pad holder.
  3. Call out which pad holder to tackle.
  4. The defender tackles that pad holder.

  1. However, sometimes signal to the player at the back to come through a gap.
  2. If he does, then the tackler has to shift across to make a shoulder impact on the ball carrier.
  3. Develop this by passing the ball late to the attacking player behind as he runs forward.

  1. Finally, work with two defenders.
  2. One defender takes the pad called, the other pad inside or outside.
  3. Again they have to react to the running defender.


  • Quick off the line.
  • Stay inside the intended tackle target.
  • Keep scanning for the player coming into the line.
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