Upping the tempo

Turning defence into attack very suddenly can bring a match-changing shift in momentum. Players need to react quickly, both in attack and defence, so use this frenetic activity to activate their minds.

Rugby is played at a certain pace. But if you turn defence into attack rapidly, players will naturally change pace.

  1. Put two groups of five in each channel.
  2. Play 3 v 2 through the channel.
  3. The defenders start at the middle and end, advancing once the carrier starts moving.
  4. Use touch tackling with no interceptions allowed.
  5. The attack runs two lengths, then you swap players around.

  1. At any stage, you shout out for one group to attack (in the example above, you shout “white”)
  2. That group runs to the outside of their box, turning to attack the long edge of the 20m box.
  3. Once all the attackers are in position, shout “go”.
  4. The attackers run and pass to score at the far end. Meanwhile, each player in the defending group runs to a cone in their box.

  1. They can only advance once the attack comes into the channel in front of them.
  2. That means players on the back line can’t move until the ball enters the 5m channel in which they’re standing.
  3. Use touch tackling.
  4. Return to the 3 v 2 channels but repeat this part of the drill at any time. Increase the intensity with full-on tackling.


  • Lots of communication.
  • Hold your lines of run when the tempo increases.



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