Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


Day eighteen of the August pre season training tips: cutting edge by David Clarke

August 18

Cutting edge

You can create a cutting edge in your team over pre season. In a previous blog, I talked about improving your speed of thought (Day 12). You want to be able to generate a team that can impose itself on other teams.
Here are five ways to “impose” yourself on other teams, and use pre season to start this process:
1. Become fitter in the areas where you have a strength. If you are a large team who likes set piece, work harder on upper body work. If you are a fast team who like to keep the ball alive, then work on speed and stamina. You might say “how about our weaknesses”? Well, be strong in what you can do first and then the other areas will start to fall into place as the season unfolds.

2. Develop and practise a few “killer” moves from set pieces and second phases. Have these as near to perfect as you can. Only then start on the next set of moves.

3. Work on “chunking” a game into segments of time. How do you play in the first five minutes. What you might do from 5 to 20 minutes if you are ahead or behind. How do you aim to finish the first half. Think about the fatigue elements. If players focus on these chunks of time, the scoreboard and all the psychological effects it can have on the players become less important.

4. Build a defence culture that celebrates success. If the ball is turned over, or the opposition has to kick, make sure the team acknowledge this and the opposition know about it.

5. Know what “tempo” wins you games. Does your side like to play with pace, use set piece and play close to the breakdown, or break the game up with kicks? Know this and then you can aim to capture that in the game. Pre season is an ideal time to work on the specifics of how the tempo of your game develops.

Better Rugby Coaching



Day eight of August pre season training tips: tackling by David Clarke

August 8

Tackling

You have got to start tackling at some stage in pre season, but when? Why not work on the elements of tackling, breaking it down into component parts. Then put it all together closer to the first proper match.

If you have six sessions before your first game then try this out:
Session 1: Footwork for tackling. Working on getting correctly aligned to make front on or side on tackles. You can use touch rugby or tag rugby where the player has two hand touch or tag the ball carrier on the hips.
Session 2: Shoulders in. In a very small area, players work on their shoulder contact with the ball carrier.
Session 3: Grip work. Grip and holding onto the ball carrier. A static ball carrier is gripped and then starts to move.
Session 4: Pairs. Working together to make tackles. Low impact, walking rugby, with one player focusing on ball.
Session 5: Rough and tumble. Five metre box, 3 v 3 full contact, with a turnover and restart at the end of the box if a ruck or maul forms.
Session 6: Full tackling session.

You can revise each session at the start of the next session to build into one full session.

Better Rugby Coaching



Defence line speed drill – technical tips by David Clarke
June 21, 2010, 11:23 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, rugby defence | Tags: , , , ,

Ian McGeechan’s Smarter Rugby series has got some simple drills. The key is the technical precision he is looking for.

Here is a common defence line speed drill, but look at the key points carefully so you can replicate them in your sessions.

Better Rugby Coaching



Basics for defence by David Clarke

I have just interviewed Craig Leseberg from the ACT Brumbies. We talked about many aspects of the game and in particular defence. One of the areas he said it was essential to work on was tracking.

Here is a video explaining tracking.

More detail on the interview including some excellent insights in individual and team defence coming soon in the International Rugby Technical Journal.

Better Rugby Coaching



You can score backs tries from lineouts by David Clarke


It is often said that defence wins rugby games. South Africa’s win against Australia this weekend in the Tri Nations goes along way to prove that point.

Ironically, Australia scored more tries, but they could not break the Springbok defensive stranglehold. There was simply no room for the Aussies, and they made handling errors, gave away penalities and had three yellow cards. The Springboks played a terrority game, kicking into the corners and pressurising the Australians into running out towards an agressive defensive line.

However, there was a good example of how teams can score tries from first phase lineout ball. Against the much vaunted South African lineout defence, throwing to anywhere but the front of lineout can mean lost ball. Front ball is not such good attacking ball.

BUtthe Wallabies did throw to the front. Instead of passing straight out to the backs, 9 passed to 7 (George Smith) who had dropped off the back of the lineout. He attacked the backline, acting as a sort of 9 and a half. Using a simple backs move to hold the midfield, the ball was spun out to allow a one-on-one for the full back. His momentum and good footwork took him over the line. Watch in the first few minutes of this clip.



Rugby wrestling by David Clarke

I have been using a defence drill which uses some of the elements of wrestling. It follows up research I did into 600 tackles over five games and the types of tackle players perform around the ruck and scrum. To warm up I use some of the drills used in the video above.

The drill and game situation will be available in mid August as an Advanced Skills Smart Session.

Better Rugby Coaching



Three players, three lapses, three tries by David Clarke

When the Lions look back on the second test against the Springboks, they will rue three crucial moments in defence.

1. Luke Fitzgerald: He was covering the 12 channel from the lineout and failed to step inside as Paul Wallace stepped across. Wallace was in the 10 channel, stepped into take Fourie du Preez peeling around the edge of the lineout. A gap opened up and JP Pieterson raced through. It was a defensive system failure because they needed to communicate and move across together.

2. Brian O’Driscoll: O’Driscoll is a very good defender, but also tends to race up. And so he did for the second try from South Africa, creating a dog leg. A defensive system error, and with Bryan Habana racing onto the ball, fatal.

3. Ronan O’Gara: When Jacque Fourie barrelled towards the line, the admittedly dazed O’Gara, crumpled under the tackle. An individual defensive error.

As one of my coaching colleagues said to me, that was school 1st XV stuff. Tough analysis, but unfortunately at the top level, it is the difference between winning and losing a test series.

Better Rugby Coaching