Football Coaching Articles

Rugby Dump Coaching Attacking the Transition Zone

Hi and welcome to another tutorial analysis with the dead ball area and rugby dump coaching we often hear that the modern defence is killing the game.How defensive systems fill the field and removing the attacking sides space.As a result there is often a tendency to look for overly complicated ways to counter them but in reality the key to beating a defence is understanding where is most difficult for them to defend, and applying pressure there.Space can appear throughout the defensive line, we can create it with things like same side patterns to suck in defenders,.

But a good way to create attacking options is by splitting the field on attack either from a ruck or a scrum.At any midfield ruck most defences will be split meaning they have to resource both sides of the breakdown and thus will place two guards or pillars either side focused on stopping the pick and goes or the 9 darting around the base of the ruck.But this focus can often lead to them becoming disconnected to their outside defenders, and you will quite often get the defensive system working in two separate units.

We call this the transition zone, or the seam.By attacking in and around the transition zone you can isolate defenders and pose questions.One of the best exponents of attacking this area is kurtley beale, his ability to square a defender creating a 2vs1 that he can exploit is nothing short of brilliant.As we can see here, he uses kellerway on his inside to distract the defender and get himself though the contact, at which point he offloads to kellerway on the inside.And here again to get the the waratahs over the gain line and on the front foot.

What beale does so well is give the defender a 5050 decision to make, he can't stay on the inside runner as the ball carrier can break, and he can't drift on the ball carrier for the risk of the inside runner.That indecision is what players like beale and foley exploit so well.Another good example of this was in the world cup where we saw australia exploit this area repeatedly, using this split field attack twice to shatter england's defence.Initially it looks like australia were going to set a maul, but england sack it so pocock peels and carries infield.

They then run a same side phase midfield.And straight away we can see england get off the line and australia are not making a lot of headway.So foley cuts back with beale trailing him.They attack the space just to the right of the ruck where young's has become isolated and execute a perfect 2 vs 1 to first beat young's.And then mike brown.It's easy to dismiss this try as opportunism, but if we rewind to just before the australians attack, back to the left we can see beale communicating to foley where the defence has thinned out,.

The call comes and they flood back attacking the isolated ben young's.It's also worth noting that both australia's first half tries come from exploiting this transition zone around a midfield ruck, and australia attacked from this split field position using giteau and foley on each side of the field all through the world cup.It's a similar issue at scrums and line outs, that split field means a defence is under resourced, uncertain where the attack is coming from and here in super rugby we can see the chiefs use the midfield split off a scrum to attack the transition zone.

We see natai isolate grant, and mckenzie attacks the inside shoulder, making the break it's then a brilliant off load from mckenzie and transfer from cruden for pulu to score.It all seems easy enough, and it is, it's for all intent and purposes these are simple 2 vs 1 situation exploited in the middle field.As with so many things in rugby, often executing the basic skills well is as good a way to counter this as any to counter these complex defensive patterns.But the real key to using these tools at any level is understand when and when not to use them.

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