There’s a vast amount of space to defend in sevens – and mistakes are magnified because a missed tackle frequently costs a try. So work on tackle technique and alignment to keep your line intact…
Players should aim to be infallible with their tackle technique, especially from side-on. They must also be ready to slide across the pitch in a defensive line to cover potential overlaps. Again, this drill also benefits 15s players.
Run a three-exercise circuit
Box 1: three attackers each hold a tackle tube.
Put three defenders 5m away and on the inside of the tubes.
The defenders come forward to make a tackle with their outside shoulder.
Then they move into the next box.
Box 2: they again face three attackers, the first one with a ball.
The defenders advance to meet the attack once the inside attacker starts running.
They should start on the inside of the player they’re marking.
The attack can run any move they like.
Box 3: finally, extend the box width and have five attackers.
The defenders will have to drift across if the attack decides to pass the ball out.
Box 1: get the front foot in close, drive the shoulder in and wrap the arms.
Box 2: keep the shoulders square, and shorten the stride just before the tackle.
Box 3: communicate to the man outside – make sure the outside players know the inside ball carrier is covered.
One of the key influences you have on your team is in the hour or so before the match. Learn how to maximise that time to bring the best out of your players and get them flying from the first whistle.