EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Cut to the chase

Switch passes – also known as “cuts” – should be a natural part of the passing armoury. This session uses a simple exercise that can be set up with lots of stations. Players will learn that timing and angles are as important as the pass itself.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 5-7
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 5-7


What to think about

Running sideways after a switch pass is common with less experienced players. They think they are running a long way with the ball but are getting nowhere. Give the runner a target to aim at after he has received the switch pass. Put a ruck pad in front of him so he has to straighten up to hit it.

As players improve, they will learn when to give the pass, and when to hold the ball and run themselves. By shielding the ball from the opposition when giving the pop pass, it is easier to give a convincing dummy pass and run.

Set-up

  1. Run straight to fix the defender.
  2. Change direction sharply and run across the pitch.
  3. Support runner: Change direction after the ball carrier and run on to a short pop pass
  4. Straighten up and accelerate after receiving the pass.

What you get your players to do

Players A and B start at their respective cones and run opposite diagonals, exchanging pop passes in the middle of the 4m channel as they cross.

Both players straighten up when they reach the next cone and repeat the exercise (see picture 1).

Players A and B start from their respective cones so they are running opposite diagonals. Half way to the second cone, they exchange pop passes before straightening up and repeating after the next set of cones

Players A and B start from their respective cones so they are running opposite diagonals. Half way to the second cone, they exchange pop passes before straightening up and repeating after the next set of cones


Development

Add defenders at three points of the channel (see picture 2). The defender follows the ball carrier as he moves towards the middle but not the receiver once the pass is made. This creates space for the receiver. The next defender does the same once the new ball carrier runs towards him.

Next, move the defenders into the middle of the channel, one between each pair of cones. The defenders now decide whether to follow the ball carrier or the intended receiver. The defender cannot move until the ball carrier beats the previous defender.

Challenge the attackers to beat all three defenders. If they fail they have to start again.

Defenders D1, D2 and D3 follow the ball carrier and open up the space for the support runner.

Defenders D1, D2 and D3 follow the ball carrier and open up the space for the support runner.


Game situation

In a 15m square, four attackers try to score at one end against three defenders. Defenders can only move from side to side and stop the attack with a one-handed touch. Attackers can only score if the attack includes a switch or dummy move.

When a try is scored or an attack is stopped, the attackers start again. Give the attackers one minute to score, before swapping players around.

Players use at least one switch or dummy to find a gap in the defence and score. Defenders can only move side to side and a try can only be scored if a switch, cut or dummy pass is made.

Players use at least one switch or dummy to find a gap in the defence and score. Defenders can only move side to side and a try can only be scored if a switch, cut or dummy pass is made.


What to call out

“Ball carrier: Change direction first. Support player: React to him”
“Support player: Accelerate on to the ball”
“Straighten up after the move”
“Soft hands to give the pop pass”

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