EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Burst and pop

This session concentrates on attacking the space behind the defence. The players will work on bursting through the gaps and then popping off to the supporting players. It shouldn’t just be seen as an attacking session though, because you can improve tackling and defensive skills at the same time.


Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 5-7
Development time: 5-7
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 7-10


What to think about

  • How can the ball carrier improve his bursting through the two defending shields?

    The ball carrier must accelerate into the gap between the pads and tense his body as contact is made. An aggressive mental attitude plus a low body position are essential for it to be really effective.
  • The support runners are getting too flat and taking the pop pass at only half pace.

    As the ball carrier makes contact he will always be slowed down to a certain extent. It’s crucial that the support players delay their runs and arrive late. If
    they think they won’t get there in time, it’s probably the perfect approach.

Set-up

  1. Target the middle of the pads making contact with each shoulder. Make sure the
    ball is held securely in two hands.
  2. Burst the pads open and go through the gap immediately popping the ball to one of your support players.
  3. As a support player time your run to arrive just after the ball carrier has burst through. Hit the ball at pace and practise scoring.

What you get your players to do

Split your squad into groups of three with a ball. Put two defenders half a metre apart holding contact shields opposite a ball carrier approximately three to four metres away.

The ball carrier runs for the small gap between the pads and as he gets closer, lowers his body into a driving position, makes contact with the pads, bursts through and immediately pops the ball to one of his supporting team mates, who scores on a line marked five metres beyond the defenders.

A low driving body position will help the ball carrier burst through the pads.

A low driving body position will help the ball carrier burst through the pads.


Development

  • Add a third defender who starts five metres further back. This will create a two versus one situation after the pop pass.
  • Allow the defenders with the contact shields to move forward and meet the ball carrier early.
Both defenders are burst out the way before the ball carrier pops to a support player.

Both defenders are burst out the way before the ball carrier pops to a support player.


Game situation

Set up an eight versus eight game. The pitch is long but narrow so there is plenty of contact. Encourage the players to look for gaps and offload before, during and after contact. All restarts are a tap and pass.

The attacking team will tend to get a bit flat. Tell them that when a player decides to break through the defence the two players on either side of the ball carrier must funnel into his slipstream and support him.

By adding a third defender, the receiver of the pop pass is put under pressure in a 2 v 1 situation.

By adding a third defender, the receiver of the pop pass is put under pressure in a 2 v 1 situation.


What to call out

  • “Focus on the small gap”
  • “Get low and drive through”
  • “Explode the pads out the way”
  • “Weight your pass”
  • “Be dynamic”
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