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The Breakdown in Attack

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Video reviews

Enjoyed it, covered all the points, possibly a little more involvement of the laws of the game. He made it simple.


Good simple drills and good core strength drills that all players should be doing


Happy days, perfect! Great vid.


Technically speaking the practice of “sealing” outlined in this video is against the laws of Rugby that require you to support your own weight at a breakdown. It should be noted in 2012 referees are penalising the more obvious forms of this technique where clearly the defence should have been able to compete if not for the “sealing” … It can be good for securing the ball, yes, but you bring the referee into the game and risk losing momentum and space at the tackle because you aren’t cleaning out past the line of the tackle.

For reference, the relevant laws are 16.2 (d) and 16.3 (a). The term in question is a player must remain on their “feet” … The current interpretation of that is that a player MUST support his on body weight on his feet. In Sam’s video he is clearly using his arms to support his body and as a result he is infringing and subject to penalty.

Here is a youtube video showing lots of “sealing” off without a referee penalising it, proving that the breakdown can be a joke and referees in the past have not correctly applied the law:

Here is a 2012 clip clearly showing the same “sealing” off technique being penalised this year …

Seal off at your own risk!


Great video with some good coaching ideas. One question if anyone can answer – where does the seal off stand in terms of legality? Have I read too many refs blogs or am I missing a point? Anyone?




Thankyou for the feedback on term ‘leeching’ being referred to in the video. This is indeed an error so thankyou for picking it up. It being rectified and the amended video will be up on the site shortly. Apologies. Chloe – Site Admin

New Zealand

Great video but I agree with Tom Lovering, mention Leaching at the start but did not close with it or mention it again. I don’t believe it was demonstrated but it could be the next development where the sealer and blower ‘latch’ together to increase power over the ball with the sealer detaching to bind onto the player presenting. Well I hope that’s correct

Great Britain & Northern Ireland

excellent dissection of the breakdown, practical and simple


Excellent. Buy this video and not the one from Richie McCaw. This one is far better.


Good video, clear and easy to follow. He mentions “leeching” at the beginning, but doesn’t make reference to it in the rest of the video. Did I miss something?


Great video. Keeps it very simple.


Great coaching video from one of the worlds best opensides. Keeping it simple and doing the basics well. Gread for the kids.

Great Britain & Northern Ireland

Warburton takes you through the skills of sealing, clearing a ruck and leeching, skills that every player needs in the modern game. Watch and learn from one of the world’s best loose forwards as he shares with you his tried and true techniques that help him win the shoulder battle at the breakdown. “I still do these exact same drills for 10-15mins at the end of each training session”

Duration 17:08
Topics Attack Breakdown
Applicable to Coaches   Players  
Languages English , Español