Tackling in the drift and putting in the plug

Develop the sorts of tackles and positioning needed to cover attacks when they start to overload one side of the ruck. This session builds up the scenarios they might face.

Drift defence starts from the inside, and the players making sure the inside shoulder is covered of the defender outside them. It also needs to “plug” inside should there be a switch.

  1. Put a ball by a tackle tube which is about 15m from a touchline.
  2. Have an attacking 9 at the tube and two attackers in the channel between the tube and touchline.
  3. Have two defenders opposite the attackers and another defender on the far side of the tube.
  4. When you say go, the lone defender comes to the other side to cover the 9 who might run with the ball.

  1. The 9 then passes or runs and passes.
  2. The attack aims to get past the defence.
  3. The defence has to make two-handed pushes on the hips to indicate they’ve made the tackle.
  4. Develop by adding another defender and attacker.
  5. Always have equal numbers.

  1. Then, play a see-saw situation, where you have a set of attackers either side of the tube. Have one attacking group wait on the other side of the tube.
  2. The defence cover one side as above, and then, when a break is made, or the attack is stopped, then run to the other side to stop the next attack.
  3. Once the first attack finishes, the second attack goes on your signal, with the defence racing around to cover.
  4. Note, there’s always equal numbers of defenders to attackers in this exercise. Change the balance once the defence is more confident.



  • Cover the inside shoulder of the next defender.
  • Move up and then move out.
  • Plug inside to stop a switch back.
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