EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

X-factor tackle tips

Think and act smart as you’re preparing to tackle and you’ll achieve results every time. Follow these simple practices on footwork and awareness to give your players the edge when defending.

1  FOOTWORK FOR BLITZ AND DRIFT

When players line up at the side of the ruck, they’ll have one foot in front of the other before they move forward. If it’s a blitz or up-and-in style of defence, the outside foot should be up. That means the defender will naturally start in towards the attack. The reverse is true for a drift, with the inside foot up.

2  SCAN, THEN COMMUNICATE

Top defenders know where the ball is coming from, who they’re marking and who they might have to mark if attackers change position. Have players look from touchline to crossbar to touchline, then communicate how to react. Clive Woodward used a version of this with England called “CTC” – crossbar, touchline, communicate.

3  MANIPULATE THE ATTACKER AND BE BALANCED

LEFT PICTURE: Any player who’s right in front of the ball carrier can be stepped on either side. So put the carrier where you want him by lining up on his inside or outside. That means using footwork during the approach to the carrier.

RIGHT PICTURE: Keep the feet under the body. If a defender plants his feet outside his shoulders, he’ll find it harder to react to the ball carrier’s lateral movements

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