The use of pods, that is small pre-defined groups of players, used to be the preserve of the top teams. However you can utilise these groups to help your players gain more structure and, crucially, know where they have to run and who they have to support. MORE
Train pods to break down organised defences
Against an organised defence, you can use closely packed groups of forwards to dent the line and then attack the recovering, disorganised defence. Often known as pods, this requires organisation, especially around the roles of the players in terms of carrying the ball and supporting that ball carrier.
In its simplest format, after a set-piece like a scrum or lineout, the forwards who were not involved in winning the ball back after the first tackle, realign to take the next pass. This is in the expectation that the backline doesn’t penetrate the line the first time.
Normally, the defence will be able to set themselves in some form of organised structure after this first tackle. If this is the case, then a pod play can be effective.
First, the “pod” players need to have the right mindset. That is, they want to beat the defenders in front of them. Use the three activities in Develop support players understanding around pods to build up the ball carrier and support player skills.
A good attacking pod will create quick ball. Your 9 has to clear the ball quickly to the next group of players who are resetting ready for the ball. The roles of all these players can be explored in Develop the 9 pass under pressure.
The pod systems still rely on good skills, quick decision-making and above all, understanding the purpose of this set up. You are trying to disorganise an organised defence. As soon as it is disorganised, then the players should be playing to the weaknesses and spaces.