Following last weeks episode on the tackle, episode ten of our ‘Rugby 101’ video series is an educational masterclass on the contest that immediately follows every tackle: the breakdown.
Beginning with a refresher on the ruck, pro player Neets Gericke explains how a ruck forms when at least one player from each side is in contact on their feet over the ball. Once this happens, players may not use their hands for the ball, and must instead drive over the ruck with their feet. When a ruck has been won, an offsides line is set, at the hindmost foot of the last defender who has entered the ruck.
On the training ground, our players act out the roles and responsibilities of all players involved in the breakdown, along with actions to avoid in order to not be penalized. Coming through the gate, keeping a stable body profile in contact, and finding acceptable “windows” to attack for cleanouts are crucial to both player safety and team success.
Defensively, a few things must happen at every breakdown. First, the tackler must roll away, to avoid being penalized for killing the ball. Any assisting tackler must first release the tackled player, in order to then compete for the turnover.
For either side, beating your opponent in the race to each breakdown is extremely valuable, and can be the difference between a success and a failure. In the instance where both players converge at the breakdown, if the defender still goes for the steal, a referee may verbalize a call to take their hands out of the ruck. At this time, the defenders best move would be to counter-ruck, driving their legs to try and push the supporting attacker off the ball.
The video ends with a drill progression that’s easy to replicate, and practices good habits for the players. We hope you’ve enjoyed our series so far, and look out for our next video on kicking.
In this weeks ‘Rugby 101’ video series, Neets Gericke talks us through one of rugby’s most essential core skills: the tackle.
With the help of a few trusty teammates, Neets takes us out to the training ground to explain the demonstrations of tackle outcomes: a made tackle, a missed tackle, and a hold-up, or choke tackle; along with the objectives of the ball carrier when being held up.
Next, we’re taught about how a tackle can turn into a maul. The players then demonstrate tackles that are deemed dangerous, and would be penalized in a match. Examples of these are the dump tackle, the high tackle, the shoulder charge, and the grass cutter tackle, popularized by American football.
After showing us what not to do, as well as explaining why each variation is a safety hazard, the boys go through the acceptable tackle possibilities: the low tackle, the ball height tackle, the double tackle, and the ankle tap.
Then, with enough explanation of tackle types, the players demonstrate a simple drill to work on their tackle technique, from tackling their attacker to their body profile on the hit, and the inevitable follow through.
Finally, Neets shows us some of the video clips from Rugby ATL matches. After a few successful tackles, we are given further explanation to the laws around the tackle: how the tackler must roll away, any assisting tacklers must release, the ball carrier must only be allowed one move with the ball before releasing unless they are not held, and how the ball carrier can avoid being held up if they can get their knee to the ground.
With all of this information on the tackle, Neets sets us up for the ideal segue into our next ‘Rugby 101’ video: the breakdown.
Pathway 404: Erreà Partnership
For Immediate Release June 17th, 2020
Pathway 404, the official academy and pathway structure guided by the leadership of Rugby ATL, has partnered with Erreà, an Italian sportswear brand specialized in the production of technical sports clothing.
Pathway 404 provides regional players and coaches with the opportunities and resources for individual development and accelerates their journey from their first step on the pitch to representing the USA on the international stage.
Pathway 404 has community-based youth programs, a regional U19 team and an Academy team with representation from each of the 6 Southeastern States of the United States which includes: Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina & North Carolina.
Angelo Gandolfi, founder of Erreà, dedicated his company to helping athletes reach their highest potential and has remained a family-owned business for over 30 years. Moreover, the family-based values that have driven Erreà’s success for the past two decades align well with Pathway 404’s commitment to push the #PACE in the Southeast.
“We are excited to partner with a company that is committed to the development of the people through sport and inspiring future leaders of communities through a commitment to core values,” said Kevin McCorry, Vice President for Rugby ATL.
Roberto Gandolfi, Erreà USA President stated: “As a former rugby player, I’m really honored that Erreà has been chosen as technical partner for this unique project of which we share values and objectives. We are proud of starting this adventure together and we are ready with enthusiasm and passion to invest our 30-year experience in teamwear.”
Pathway 404 athletes and staff will be wearing the Erreà brand against regional Development teams for the next 2 years as the partnership will last through the 2022 season.
For this week, to conclude our ‘Rugby 101’ mini-series on the set-piece, pro player Neets Gericke teaches us in the session about the backlines role off the set-piece. After addressing the spacing requirements a backline needs, Neets takes us out to the training ground where we listen to some of our backs describe: the main objectives on attack and defense, areas on the field to attack, variations of attack, and how to stop an attacking teams momentum when on defense.
After establishing the objectives of the backline on an offensive and defensive set-piece, Neets puts the boys through a simple three versus two drill, giving two reps to focus on attack, and two reps to focus on defense. Through attacking straight and accurate passing, the offense has their best chance to break the defense. Conversely, through quick line speed, communication, solid connection, and great tracking through the tackle, the defense can work together to smother a good attack.
If you’ve enjoyed our series so far, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube page, and get ready for the next video in our ‘Rugby 101’ series: the tackle.
Atlanta, Georgia- On June 7th, 2020, Rugby ATL released our sixth episode of The RATL Roundup, our weekly series live-streamed to share some of the people behind our organization with our viewers.
This week, our episode featured players Marno Redelinghuys and Ross Deacon, two of our talented forwards here at Rugby ATL, to showcase their unique backgrounds as rugby players and their well-roundedness as men.
As this weeks live stream got underway both Redelinghuys and Deacon offered our fans their insight into how they’d made it this far; for Marno it came after a lifetime of rugby that took him from youth rugby into the Varsity Cup at the university level before playing for The Stormers professional rugby team in Cape Town. Ross, who was fortunate enough to be born in San Francisco, California, played for the illustrious Kilkenny College as well as Leinster schools teams before being selected to the 2013 USA Under 20’s team for the World Junior Championship and inevitably being a journeyman of the MLR, having played for Rugby United New York, The Austin Elite, and now Rugby ATL.
Neither of the two men had an easy road to take to get to where they are today, as both talked openly about their battles with the game. Around the age of twelve, Ross said that he wasn’t loving his rugby. He thought that he would fare better in the game of soccer, but his mom adamantly kept him interested enough to not quit the sport entirely. For Marno, after a knee injury before university, he was also debating leaving the game to focus on his studies, but an old coach from his past kept pushing him to rehab, pushing him to play again, pushing him to develop through the adversity of his injury.
Now, both men have played their part in Atlanta’s first professional rugby team, and both are enrolled in the Doctor of Chiropractic program at Life University, though arriving here in the 404 under different circumstances. Ross was set on continuing school at Life, with the opportunity of playing for Rugby ATL simultaneously being too good to pass up on. Marno entered the Rugby ATL roster as a player first, and eagerly accepted the opportunity to continue his education when the chance arose.
To wrap up their time in our RATL Roundup, both men shared their artistic capabilities as well, with both musicians bringing their guitars, to share a song with those of us lucky enough to bear witness.
If you want to hear more from our players and listen to the music shared during our video, you can find information about their feats and foundations through our YouTube page; and to hear more about our organization, follow us online @rugbyatl.rugby, on Facebook as Rugby ATL, on Instagram @rugbyatl, and be sure to look out for our next RATL Roundup.
This week, in the seventh episode of our video series ‘Rugby 101,’ pro player Neets Gericke teaches us about the scrum, a set piece where the forwards bind together in an ordered formation to push over the ball against an opposing pack. With arms interlocked and heads down, both groups may only push forward when the ball has been put into the scrum.
With help from his fellow forwards, Neets takes us through the setup of each forward as the group packs down to scrum. Beginning with a high and tight bind from the hooker around both props, the front row assures that they will not be split apart by their opposition as the pushing begins. As the locks put their shoulders on and bind to their respective props, they engage tightly to keep the pressure on their front rowers. With flankers, positioning will change depending on who is the blindside flanker, the number six, and who is the openside, the number seven. That being said, their body profiles will stay constant: a tight bind must be made with your lock, along with a brace onto your prop with the shoulder, before the initial hit is made. Flankers must help stabilize their props before the scrum, as well as being aware to break away after the ball has been played. Finally, the Number Eight commands the scrum, controlling the locks before the initial hit. As the ball is put in, the Eight will routinely control the ball at their feet, to inevitably be cleared by a pass, or kept in and driven to earn a penalty.
In a match, the referee will only start his cadence when both packs are square, stable, and stationary. Both forward packs have to stay this way through the cadence, and must not use their hands when the ball is in. All front-rowers must push straight, and the scrumhalf must put the ball in down the middle of the channel. Not abiding by these laws to the scrum will result in either a free kick or a full penalty to the non-offending team.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our masterclass on the game of rugby so far, please be sure to watch the next video of our ‘Rugby 101 series,’ as we go over the backlines role after the set-piece.