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Not sure if this question has been asked...but is drift?

Not sure if this question has been asked...but is drift defence REALLY the BEST way to combat the fullback entering the line?

In my experience, it depends what 'drift/slide' you employ. The basic drift can combat the FB coming into the line at various points, but struggles with an acute inside line by the FB.

To counter this I use what I call a 'delayed drift', which is similar to what the Aussies call a 'hustle, tackle, jam'. Basically the inside player doesn't drift until his man has passed the ball, then rather than drift onto the outside man, he covers the channel between his man and the outside man anticipating the FB hitting the line. The added benefit of this is that if the FB doesn't come through, there's always a 2 on 1 situation in favour of the defence!

Hi Dennis, This looks workable - will give it a crack! Thanks Stephe

key points are:

  • speed of line, notably inside defender
  • shape, no point inside man covering channel from behind outside defender
  • communication - vital but emphasise on the inside man telling the outside defender that he's just drifted before outside defender drifts, if not, the ball carrier generally sees a BIG gap open in front of him.

Let me know how you get on, interested to hear the progress.

Hi Dennis, Quick update.... Tried it with mostly good success. However, it is HEAVILY reliant on both TRUST and IMPECABBLE 1st line stopping power, or your line is quite easily breached. Having said that, it is something that we can work on and is principally sound. Regards Stephe

Your right, it is heavily reliant on trust, but I would say most defences are. If we don't trust either our inside or outside man in the line, then we find ourselves covering and folding behind them, which will ultimately take away the width of our defence.

The thing that I find is key with coaching any defence system is making players see how it works in slow motion. Run a move with the 15 breaking the line, at walking pace, and get the defence to react at walking pace. That way they're more likely to see their errors.

Get the defenders to learn how to 'shepherd' attackers for their advantage. The shepherding player may not be the player making the tackle, but herds the carrier into the tackler.

But, as always, the key to any defence line is the ability of the individuals to tackle. Doesn't matter how great the organisation is, if the players can't tackle it all falls down. 

I run a practice for the above system whereby 3 defenders have to shepherd 1 attacker for the middle defender to make the tackle, the ball carrier has to try and force the outside defenders to make the tackle. Start out in a 10m wide channel before widening. Bring in a 2nd attacker who then tries to run support line outside the defence unit, so the 1st carrier attempts to force the outside defenders into the tackle so the support runner has no one in front of him when he receives the offload.

Just as a measure, it takes me between 3-6 months to implement this system, but the more you spend on the tackle ability, the quicker the trust comes.

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  • or access our tried and tested plans