Imagine Rugby Blogs

A solid defence creates stability

A drill to inspire confidence in difficult situations

Posted Aug 13, 2010 by John Casson

Preparations for the new Rugby Union season are well under way and many teams, both professional and amateur, will base this season’s chances of success on a solid defensive platform from which they can build.

In fact, if you look at all the great teams in any sport, historically (Harlem Globetrotters and Real Madrid aside) they have a solid defence that allows the attacking players to go out and play which inevitably sees them run out victorious.

And Rugby Union is one sport where a tight defence enables you to be extremely successful. If you don’t concede, you don’t lose. Simple really isn’t it?

During your pre-season you should try the ‘defensive push’ drill that will sure up your rearguard even when out-numbered or caught off guard.

The ‘defensive push’ shows players that when their defence is disorganised or lacking numbers, they don’t jump out of line and that they don’t race up and try to make a tackle immediately. It teaches them to hold and then push as a unit to try to make the attacking team pass earlier so they can build defenders up from the inside. This will mean they are working very hard to fill the inside spaces and give the outside player or the players who are there, the confidence to know they can push onto the outside player.

This drill is essentially about teaching the defence to try and get the advantage back when they’ve lost it, either through the opposition having more numbers or taking quick ball. This may leave you struggling to get into position so rather than take yourself out of the game by racing towards the attacker on your own, you get back and group up with two or three other players and then hold and push to try and force the attacker into the outside channel and then close them down.

Remember with something like this, communication is everything and it will only work if the talking between players is effective. All the talk has to come from the inside so the outside man knows exactly what he’s doing and so he doesn’t commit himself too early.

Essentially, you shouldn’t rush up on your own, use your team-mates to create a solid defensive line and make your team-mates and the opposition aware of your presence throughout with effective communication.

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