The three main things to remember when playing on defense is to get big hits in tackles, a strong ruck, and to “build the wall”.
Be aggressive when you tackle. When the other team sees a strong tackler, their hesitation can lead to your team getting the ball.
When a ruck goes down, getting low and having a strong body position will help in gaining possession of the ball.
In a defense ruck, there are two people, one on either side of the ruck, called the guards. These two players aren’t always the same people. They are the ones who are closest to where the ruck formed that weren’t part of the ruck themselves. In order to let their teammates know that the positions are filled, they raise their outside the ruck side hand and yell “guard! guard! guard!”. Their job is to stay right on the outsides of a ruck and watch for the ball to be out. Once the ball is out, they yell “ball’s out!” and run forward to tackle the ball carrier. Their unofficial position is similar to that of the flankers in a scrum.
If it looks like the other team is winning possession of the ball, the team will get into a flat line behind the last foot of the farthest back person in a ruck. Stay spread out across the field and avoid having big gaps in the line.
When game day arrives, it’s easy to forget something in the excitement. Here are some things to double check you have before you leave.
Cleats- you can’t play without them. At all. Bring extras if you have them just in case. Break in new cleats before game day for better movement. Rugby or soccer cleats are best. But if you have softball or baseball cleats, removing the toe spikes can work in a pinch.
Water- while there are usually a set of team water bottles, you will be exerting a lot of energy and having water for after the game is better than not. Sports drinks help with electrolytes, but water is best.
Mouth guard- keep your teeth in your mouth. There are special mouth guards for braces as well.
A snack- nice to have for between or after games. Fruit and protein bars work best.
Cash- sometimes they will have snacks and tournament tee shirts for sale.
Cellphone- not only are they good for emergencies, road trip music and post game selfies are fun as well.
Blanket- to sit on if it’s warm and to huddle inside if it’s not.
Plastic shopping bag- keep the field that sticks to your cleats from getting to everything else in your bag.
Extra set of clothes- spandex is only comfortable for so long
Hand sanitizer- if the port a potty runs out
Bandaids- for turf burns
Pads or tampons- just in case
Pain killers- this is a contact sport
Feel free to add what you like to bring with you to games in the comments section below!