“Contact in rugby is inevitable! Sooner or later we will need to do our best to dominate the outcome of the contact point.” Rugby Coach – Theo Bennett
Maximizing control of contact situations is key in controlling the outcome of any rugby match. Good technique, sound understanding, and courage are all individually important elements in this process. The greater your understanding and awareness, the easier it is for you to make patient clear decisions. Controlling the contact area gives our teammates the best opportunity to be decisive and efficient in what occurs from this point.
When entering into contact, we need to create a base for other players to work from:
- Dominating the contact point and winning the gain line gives you the best chance to Go Green and give your teammate the best picture to easily make a decision for effective cleaning. (Check out Ruck entry)
- Having a balanced foundation and getting into a body position where you can be powerful is essential. It enhances the likelihood of your supporting teammates being able to bind on and assist in gaining additional meters through advancing you through the contact area.
We need to be aware of what a strong body position is but also understand how combining this with an attacking attitude can buy us time with ball in hand if our support is slow. Like we mentioned in other articles, one should seek to find space to attack instead of a direct contact point. Lets look at some key points below, to assist you in controlling your body movements and turning the likely outcome in your favor.
As we enter Contact:
- Set your target.
- Eyes up, Head up.
- Control where you want to meet your opponent in the contact situation if possible, entering in contact.
- Lower your body and ensure your head and chest is advanced down the pitch compared with your lower body.
- Dynamic Strong Movements (Decrease/ Increase Speed /React to picture).
- Ideally use a strong stiff fend where time and situation allows.
- As contact is made, aim to shift your body to be able to get your inside leg up to the contact shoulder allowing you an additional step with your outside foot, where even in a solid tackle situation, you will have a greater chance of being able to maintain balance and move past the tackle point.
- Keep the ball away from the contact point and wear possible in two hands. The greater the connection with the ball, generally the better the control (i.e. Hug ball and squeeze as you take contact).
- 99% of the time Keep Moving Forward through Driving your Legs.
- Fight with the Torso Hustle – Rotate shoulders, elbows and be a handful to limit any chance of your opponent gaining full control.
If you achieve a Breech/ broken tackle.
- Stay strong and dynamic after contact.
- Listen and look for support and ALWAYS make eye contact when searching for an off load or passing opportunity.
- Then its decision making time. Ground Work or Floor (If you go to ground… GO GREEN).
- Strive to Score The Try long in behind the contact point before Going Green. This increases the likelihood of additional time being required by the closest defenders to enter legally through the gate. However, more importantly, referees are likely to give you the additional movement/time to first Score The Try then Go Green (2 movements) compare to a standard one. All of this buys time for you and your team to remain in control of the contact situation.
- Where possible when Going Green, place the ball away from the direction where you received the ball. This is again to force defensive inside support to go the extra meter, buying your team more time.
- An additional placement movement is where one Scores The Try and pushes the ball through their legs and gets chest flat to ground. This is often referred to as a “Squeeze Ball”. Not the quickest option for your supporting teammates to play quickly from, but when an opponent is over top of you in particular situations, it can buy an additional second/moment for your support to maintain the advantage. Options from quality body control and/or placement.
- 100% offload or short pass opportunities to gain additional meters.
- Passing opportunities from the ground.
- Score the Try and Go Green protocols for immediate support.
- Ground placement option to “Squeeze Ball”.