Now we have a list of things to coach players to help them perfect their offensive skills. So you are now probably wondering what to do about helping players understand what they need to do when they don’t have the ball. Many coaches make the early mistake of failing to teach basic elements of playing solid defense. The old adage of offensive play resulting in points, but the defense determines who wins matches certainly applies to rugby! In this section, you will gain a greater understanding of the principles and skills associated with coaching quality defense. 

Objectives: go forward, take away opponent’s time and space, tackle, regain possession

Responsibilities: organize roles and positioning, tackle, poach/pressure, regain possession
Skills: identify threats, communicate, work as a unit, tackle effectively


After seeing an example of defensive play, hopefully you feel a bit more confident about how to go about effectively coaching the right thing at the right time. There are many different learning styles such as auditory (listening), visual (seeing), and kinesthetic (doing). Players AND coaches all have their favorite methods.

A basic understanding of the principles and skill associated with attacking (offense) and defensive play are extremely valuable to all coaches. Identifying the key points associated with skills such as passing, receiving, evasion, and creating space lead to continuous play and lots of scoring! On the defensive side of the ball, understanding why applying pressure, going forward, “crossing the street,” and maintaining a solid line get the job done helps to lower the score and create more excitement. As a coach, the better you can communicate how to carry out these basic skills, the greater your team will enjoy playing rugby.