EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Dogs of war

Do your players have the guts to challenge for a 50:50 ball? Often this is all that separates teams in close encounters. When the ball is on the ground, players need to react aggressively to win it – be like Shakespeare’s “dogs of war” – before driving forward.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 8-10
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-7


What to think about

A player challenging for the ball on the ground cannot be tentative. He must “own” the space around the ball.

This session helps players work out what is best for them in different situations. For instance, in attacking positions or running back to their own line.

The best option is to pick up the ball cleanly. Realistically players can only do this if the ball is immediately in front of them and there are no opponents nearby.

The next best option is to fall on the ball. This is particularly important when there are opponents close by, or the ball is behind the player, or on wet days. Players must then quickly get to their feet with the ball.

The third option is to step over the ball and brace for contact. This protects the ball and allows team mates arriving immediately afterwards to pick it up.

Set-up

  1. Be hungry to win the ball.
  2. Drive forward with short steps, fighting to stay on your feet until support arrives.

What you get your players to do

Put two ruck pad holders on a line, with an attacker just in front of them and a ball about 5m away. Have the attacker walk towards the ball before you shout “GO”.

The attacker picks up the ball, turns and aims to score over the line. The pad holders move forward to push him back and away from the line.

This should encourage a low body position and good leg drive by the attacker.

On your shout, the attacker moves quickly to pick up the ball and score.

On your shout, the attacker moves quickly to pick up the ball and score.


Development

Put a player on each corner of the triangle with a ball in the middle of it. Shout out which player is to go for the ball. A few moments later, call for the other players to move forward to defend.

The ball player aims to score over the line opposite him whilst the other two aim to stop him.

The nominated player gathers the ball to score over the line in front of him. The other two, released moments later, aim to stop him.

The nominated player gathers the ball to score over the line in front of him. The other two, released moments later, aim to stop him.


Game situation

Split into teams of three. Put two teams in the box, facing away from each other. Roll the ball towards one team and shout “GO”.

Both teams turn and aim to score over the opposite line. The winning team, or the team that does not infringe stays on.

The teams turn and aim to score over the line in front of them.

The teams turn and aim to score over the line in front of them.


What to call out

  • “Step over or fall on the ball”
  • “Get into a low body and driving position early”
  • “Keep driving forward”
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