Mike Haley’s Defensive Full Back Tips

Full Back Tips in Defence with Mike Haley

Full Back and LooseHead Rob sat down with England and Sale Sharks Full Back (and LooseHeadz ambassador) Mike Haley to discuss the back three defensive positioning under the high ball.

Star = Ball

Scrum in opposition 22

MH: In this position, I’d move the left winger up to defend the blind side and drop my right winger. The right winger and I would have all bases covered as shown above.

Lineout in opposition 22

MH: Here, for a lineout in the opposition 22, I’d push my left winger up into the defensive line and bring my right winger back to defend any kicks with me.

Scrum on halfway line

MH: For a scrum on halfway, it depends on the formation of the opposition back line. However, usually, I’d have both wingers taking a couple of steps back from the defensive line. Then I would be following the play in behind.

Lineout on halfway line

MH: In this instance, I’d have my left winger up in the defensive line. The right winger and I would be in behind our defence. At full back, I’d only join the line if the opposition were to get the ball out wide…with the right winger filling in behind.

Scrum in your 22

MH: This is a tough one to judge, but usually I’d join the line and then hang a couple of metres behind. It’s rare that a team kicks here but if they do it is difficult to judge.

Lineout in your 22

MH: For an opposition lineout in our 22, I’d be in the line and have our winger sweeping behind.

Opposition kick off

MH: This is a fairly straight forward one – filling in around the rest of the team.

Your kick off

MH: For our kick off, our left winger would chase the kick as they should be quickest! The right winger would push up but hang a couple of metres back from the defensive line. As a full back, I’d push over to the left wing and our 10 (and sometimes the 8) would hang back.

General Defence

MH: Generally, in defence, we act as a pendulum. The wingers push up or drop back depending on where the ball is in play. However, this changes when the opposition reach our 22. I would push the wingers into our defensive line and then the 9 and 15 cover the kick plays.


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