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In any given situation every player must understand and communicate their role within the team’s defensive pattern.

The defence must operate as a unit by moving forward together to deny time and space for the attackers.

Defensively it is just as important to drill defensive patterns that suit your team. Again you can vary these tactically during a tournament depending on your opposition.

It is important to be able to form a defensive line from a set piece very quickly. Simple patterns and identification of roles within the pattern need to be established.

Common defensive pattern would be to use six players forward with one player dropping back to act as a fullback or sweeper. Variations of alignments on this formation can be determined by the profile of your players and also tactical variations depending on the given strengths and weaknesses of each opposition.

As a basic philosophy players should move up and across together so that the ball-carrier can be tackled from the inside.

If the defender is outside the ball-carrier, the player will have to move in to make the tackle and should endeavour to tackle the player and the ball to halt the attack. While this may be effective, better players will pass to a support player running to penetrate through the space which the defender has moved away from.

The ‘outside-in’ defensive pattern may be useful in open field situations but will require the remaining six defenders to know their roles and act as one to fill in any holes created before they are attacked.

The basic method of defending is, therefore, ‘inside-out’, although defences may develop variations to this.

Related Defence Principles Drills