You may have heard the term “breakdown” when watching or talking about rugby. We’ll explain exactly when that means in this article. Plus we’ll explain the rules and share some drills to increase your breakdown success rate.
Rugby Breakdown Definition
In rugby, a breakdown occurs when one or more players from opposing teams are contesting for the ball on the ground after a tackle or ruck has been formed. The aim of the team in possession of the ball is to secure the ball and present it back to their own team, while the team not in possession is trying to win the ball back.
The breakdown can be a chaotic and highly contested area of the game, and there are several rules and techniques that players must follow to avoid committing a penalty or infringing on the opposing team. These include:
- The player in possession of the ball must release it immediately upon being tackled.
- The tackler must release the ball carrier and roll away from the tackle area.
- Players entering the breakdown must enter from their own side of the tackle area and must not use their hands to interfere with the ball or the opposing players.
- The first player from either team to arrive at the breakdown and bind on to the ball carrier or the ball becomes the “jackaler” and can contest for the ball.
- Players must stay on their feet when contesting for the ball and must not go off their feet to try to win the ball.
- Players must not enter the breakdown from the side or come in from the offside position.
Why Breakdowns Are Important
The breakdown is a crucial part of the game, as it provides an opportunity for teams to win turnovers and gain possession of the ball. Successful teams must be skilled at both winning and securing the ball at the breakdown, as well as defending against opposition teams trying to do the same.
Rugby Breakdown Drills
There are many rugby breakdown drills that coaches can use to help their players develop the skills necessary to win and secure possession of the ball at the breakdown. Here are a few examples:
- Ruck Pad Drill: This drill involves using ruck pads to simulate a breakdown situation. Players form a ruck and the coach rolls a ball into the middle. Players must drive over the ball and clear out the opposition players to secure possession.
- Two-on-One Breakdown Drill: This drill involves two attackers and one defender. The attackers must work together to secure the ball and prevent the defender from winning it back.
- Breakdown Grid Drill: This drill sets up a grid of cones to simulate the breakdown area. Players practice driving over the ball, competing for possession, and securing the ball for their team.
- Turnover Drill: This drill involves starting with two players on their knees, with one holding a ball. The defender must try to win the ball from the attacker, while the attacker must protect the ball and secure possession.
- Contact Pad Breakdown Drill: This drill involves using contact pads to simulate contact situations. Players must drive over the pads and secure possession of the ball.
These are just a few examples of rugby breakdown drills that coaches can use to help their players develop the skills necessary to succeed at the breakdown.
Hopefully you have a better understanding of what a rugby breakdown is. It’s an important aspect of the game, which is why successful teams practice breakdown drills frequently.
Thanks for reading!