EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Pressure through alignment

DEEP OR FLAT

Each alignment puts pressure on the defence. It also takes into account the type of defence they may have.

A deep alignment gives the backs more room to unwind their moves and get the ball wide. This is good against a side who are quick off the line in defence.

The flat alignment attacks closer to the gain line and gives the defence less time to adjust. However, there’s more pressure on the attackers to execute their skills.


FAST REALIGNMENT

The quicker the realignment, the more pressure. And if the attack can realign to the other side of the ruck/tackle, then this might beat the defence into position.

This can beat a defence because they may be set and ready, and looking in at the ruck, so might be surprised.

The players need the following skills: Scanning, communication, and then turning to face up the pitch after running across the pitch.


STRETCHING THE DEFENCE

If you want to create spaces between defenders or force the defence to close in and therefore create spaces wide out, then keep playing to the edges of the field.

Where will the gaps appear in the defence? Gaps will appear between defenders or on the edges because they cannot cover the whole width of the field.

What skills do we need to execute this? Accurate, long passes from at least some of the players, not all of them though. Plus running straight, but not closing down the space between the attack and defence to prevent the passes get to the widest players. Then, to scan when it’s okay to engage the defence.


SPLITTING THE DEFENCE

An alternative is to split the defence. That means it has to defend both sides of the ruck.

How do you split the defence? Attack into the middle of the field and create a blindside. A blindside is also known as a short side, where the split is narrower.

Where do the players need to realign? Some players need to stay on the blindside. This can also hold defenders in place, giving the attack more space on the openside.

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