"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
Up and tackle
Work on side-on tackles where the defenders are scrambling across to cover the attack. They will need to keep square so they don’t get sidestepped, and keep in the line with their team mates.
Moving from a prone position means initially they will be disrupted and will have to find their positioning quickly.
- Put a ball carrier on his front in the middle of one end of the box.
- Put a defender on his front in the middle of one side of the box.
- Have the ball carrier get up and try to run to the far end of the box without going off at the side. The defender has to react and put him on the ground.
- Put three defenders lying on their fronts spread out up to 5m from one edge. Put a feeder just to the side of this edge.
- Have three attackers run into the box, with the defenders getting up once the ball has left the feeder’s hands.
- Put four defenders in the middle of the box, with two on their fronts facing one way, and two on their fronts facing the other.
- Put four attackers on each side, each group with a letter.
- Shout out a letter, and that group has to attack to score at the far side. Reset after a try, turnover or infringement.
- Have five goes and then swap.
- Focus on tackling low and driving through the tackle.
- Keep light on your feet before you tackle, so you don’t plant.