Picking a system?
In Ruckipedia, there is an article on which systems to use and how to use them, predominantly focusing on the ‘up and out’ defence (slide) and the ‘up and in’ defence (Blitz) – make sure you have a read. You must make a conscious decision early in your planning of which system suits your team.
Most teams use ‘up and out’ because it is easier to implement and a safer, low risk system than the ‘blitz’ defence which is a high risk, high reward system.
If your team is fast but not very physical you may want to stay tight in defence and give the opposition the outside and therefore slide. If your team is slower and more physical you might want to impress your physicality on the opposition by using the ‘blitz’ defence. There are some teams who play at an elite level and have been together for a long time who can use a mixture of both at the appropriate times.
Principles need to be laid too once you have decided which system to use. For example if using up and out, what are your principles on your set up, when to slide and when to hit your opposite.
For Blitz what are your principles on your set up, on your line speed and on which man to take. This is very important as it teaches the player the mechanics and how to execute the system.
Also you must also come up with calls and terminology that your team will use when executing in defence.
For example: a call for moving forward or a call for moving across or a call for numbers up/down. Also the terminology might be naming your first three defenders at either side of the ruck and a call for when you need change position with one of your team-mates.
These calls a very important when training and playing as everyone understands each other by using the same terminology you have implemented at the beginning. The coach can also get his messages across quicker if he relates to the common language agreed by the team.
As you can see there needs to be great planning when building a defensive system but without first deciding which system to use, formatting the terminology and deciding on your philosophy then its difficult to move forward.
If however all the above is in place you can then move on to building the next part of your defensive system.
The Defence Guru