This edition of our Top Tips series focuses on Controlling Contact & Effective Continuity
Sam Jones avoiding contact v Worcester Warriors
Developing individual skills is an essential activity on our CoacHclass Programme. This starts with techniques such as passing, receiving, running agility, kicking, tackling and continuity. Our coaches work hard with the CoacHclass players to develop the required techniques in both attack and defence.
Rugby players need to develop several types of skill to cope with the demands of the modern game; namely technical, tactical, physical, mental and lifestyle. We are trying to produce players with Vision, Decision-Making, Communication and Precise Execution...EVERYTIME. Our featured CoacHclass Top Tips technique is "Controlling Contact and Effective Continuity".
Controlling Contact & Effective Continuity
Sam Jones goes forward powerfully when the collision is inevitable v Gloucester Rugby
Getting all players to recognise and react to situations similarly - builds attacking momentum and results in effective play which is difficult to defend
Communication is vital. If all players understand where the team is intending to strike then players can prepare to support effectively therefore giving them an advantage
Try to avoid contact if at all possible (it slows down the progress of the ball and gives the opposition a chance to steal the ball, slow it down or get organised defensively)
The ball carrier must win the collision/contest
The ball carrier must be in control of his body and the ball before he considers ball presentation or the offload
The ball carrier must run confrontationally to penetrate (mind set) and must try to move defenders late to dominate any resultant contact situation
Players on a penetration run / hit up must tighten their grip on the ball
Present the ball when going forward
ALL THE ABOVE CREATE PRESSURE BEING TACKLED IS NOT A MAJOR PROBLEM, LOSING THE BALL IN CONTACT IS
Sam Jones uses footwork to dominate the defender v Sale Sharks
Winning The Collision
Go forward powerfully when the collision is inevitable. Grip the ball tightly.
Foot speed is essential to dominate the defender:
to close the space between the ball carrier & the defence = pressure
create & hit the weak side of the defender
Step Pattern: move the defender one way – step forward to the other – third step takes the ball carrier into and hopefully through the impact (inside leg). At this point if the tackle is successful the ball carrier must drive hard (with outside leg) to get his hips up and round to at least parallel with the goal line
When in control, consider the options:
Presentation - close or long (presenting long means that the defender will have to reach for the ball probably making him unstable)
Trailing players must prepare early & also look beyond the collision to recognise possible attacking options (Heads Up). The Scrum half is vital as he must communicate
Players on either side of the ball carrier must get in behind the ball carrier, to ensure continuity. Either to leech onto the ball carrier and power him through the contact, be available for an offload or to balance the play up on the opposite side of the leeching player
Support players must learn to communicate and prepare early for helping the ball carrier
EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTINUITY (Leeching, mauling & rucking) NOT JUST THE FORWARDS - THE WIDER A TEAM ATTACKS THE GREATER IS THE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE PLAYERS OUTWIDE (from first phase particularly) FOR EFFECTIVE PRIMARY SUPPORT
Sam Jones wins the collision v Biarritz
Options for the Ball Carrier The ball carrier has essentially 8 options
Pass before contact
Beat the defender
Having attempted to beat the defender but is held, he must get his shoulder past the contact and offload
Having attempted to beat the defender but held, but not controlled, stay on feet "going on the pump" allowing primary support to leech on & power him through the contact
Having attempted to beat the defender but held as above but on the call of "sweep" and with the help of the 3rd & 4th support players set up a dynamic mini maul
Having attempted to beat the defender but held as above “goes on the pump” but on the call of “down” from the primary support
Tackled and going to ground early – control ball & body look for offload possibilities (only if the above control is gained see the pass make the pass)
As above then going to ground & setting the ball up with quality presentation of the ball with awareness of the proximity of support. (last option)
Making the right decisions in the contact area results in effective ball retention. There are basic decisions to be made by those involved at the contact area, based around one simple question: "How do I improve the condition of the ball for my team"
Ball carrier: Pass, beat, power through, offload or effective presentation of the ball
Primary Support Players: First man: does he leech onto the ball carrier - if he stays up and power him through the contact, be available for the offload out of the tackle. If the ball carrier goes to ground does he "blow over" and clean out the opposition or "stick" over the ball (only if isolated & defensive pressure is great)
Second man: Balance up the drive to power the ball carrier through, assist with the "clear out", "pick and go", or pop / lift the ball to a runner, or "stick"
Secondary Support Players: In essence the basic decisions are the same:
"How do I improve the condition of the ball for my team?"
"Can I improve the condition of the ball for my team by going into the breakdown?"
"Should I stay out and create the first or second wave of attack?"