Conditioned Game - Breakdown Technique
When the experts explain things in simple terms it all makes sense. The Blitz defence can be confusing and delivering the coaching blocks to develop this policy can be tricky. Richard Thorpe explains things in easy to understand language
Tony Dirpose from Harlequins delivers a unit defence exercise on spacing and line speed
The Defensive Line
Tackle Technique Warm-up
A clever game created by Russell Earnshaw to encourage players to experiment and learn about communication
This exercise focuses on the key elements of a strong defensive system, including scanning, line-speed and staying linked with your team mates.
A brief overview of the importance of strong defensive structure and some basic exercises to build it.
The classic schoolyard game. Played full contact but with tackle pads. Attackers must get to the other side of the field without dropping their ball or being pinned to the ground by defenders with tackle pads.
The team warm up with individual tackle techniques, progress to unit work and then onto full team exercises from set piece play
The ability to move from 1 to 1 tackling exercises into unit & group skills can be tricky. Here are some tips that you could use
Defence - Exit & Kick Chase
Use this exercise to replicate a line break with one defender to beat. The attackers need to move the defender and execute a 2 v 1 while the initial defender tracks back to stop the pass. Also works movement at top end speed for the main attacker
After starting with a defence-focused game, this drill can be used to focus on organising a drift defence from the breakdown. The four defenders touch all cones in the tackle area to simulate chaos before getting into position.
Building a defensive system starts with the first three defenders and what they need to do at the breakdown. The Northampton saints coaches go through the steps and progressions to help younger players learn the key movements and techniques
Coaching defence starts with some warm up games and progresses to specific skills and the coach then builds upon these basics. A system of defence is then introduced and practised in a conditioned game
A combination of skills are tested, both technical and tactical with the defenders moving from a passing activity to defending 8 attackers. The coach can change the attack with different starting points and number of attackers
This exercise tests the defenders ability to keep a peripheral view of where the next threat might be coming from and to keep communicating with colleagues. Attackers are always looking for the next opportunity an so should defenders
Players must observe the actions of the attacking side, and organise their defensive line early to be able to counter it. A continuous drill that requires patience and good communication.
In this exercise, the emphasis is on linespeed in defence. The purpose is to put pressure on the attacking team to force an error and create the turnover opportunity.
When an opportunity is acknowledged, players flood the breakdown to gain possession, before moving the ball away quickly
Statistics from the 2012 JWC show that teams with stronger defences performed better.
Back Row Defence
This video takes you through the basics of both blitz and drift defences and provides great drill ideas.
An exercise for continuity and support.
The coach can set the width of the channel and intensity of the defenders
A progression for preparing the player for contact & collison
A clip with a progression on defensive systems from the 2009 Lions Tour
Practice of team defence is important for reinforcing effective systems of defence that require aspects such as communication, pressure and drifting
The Lions drill for developing awareness of attack and defence options
A clip from the 2009 on defence systems
A clip from the 2009 Lions
Lions 2009 defence clip