Rugby is both a collision and an evasive sport. Defenders want to collide into attackers. Attackers want to evade defenders. That's why footwork is a core skill for rugby. Skipping through a few ladders might add some agility, but it's best to deal with actual, moving bodies. Sometimes it's just straight-line speed you need. Other times it's lateral or sideways movement. Often it's a bit of both. MORE
Get out of my space
Use competition to make players try different evasion skills. This session has one race and one game to challenge players to command their own space then find new spaces.
Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-8
What to think about
Your greatest challenge is matching players up. There is no point in pitching a slow prop against a nimble winger but you can adjust distances to handicap players where necessary.
Because there are obstacles in front of the player and not on the ground, runners will need to look up and not concentrate on their feet. Make sure there are plenty of repetitions so players have a chance to try different methods. Both elements are excellent to run again later in the season, because players will have had a chance to improve their footwork.
- Attack the space you want but not until the last moment (to fool your opponent).
- Stay upright and look ahead.
What you get your players to do
Put five players on the middle cones. Have two facing one way and three the other (see picture 1.)
When you shout “GO”, the players race to any of the cones in front of them and then aim to get through one of the four gaps (see picture 2). If two players end up at the same gap, the first player through it wins (there should be enough space to pass, but there might be some contact).
If two players go through the gap side by side, they both lose. And no player is allowed to go across the cones in the middle. Winners stay in, losers are replaced. Winners get a point for two consecutive stays. They are then replaced.
Two players facing the same direction hold ruck pads. They run to the middle of two of the gaps. The players aim for the spare gaps, with the last player through the loser (or if a player runs into a ruck pad).
Give the faster players a ball.
Make the players start on their fronts.
Put two ball carriers at the corners of the two boxes (see picture 3) and two players on the other corners. When you shout “GO”, the ball carriers have to score in the opposite box, while the two defenders run over the cone in front of them and try to two-hand touch the ball carriers.
Players must have their heads up to avoid bumping into each other. A ball carrier caught becomes a defender.
What to call out
- “Speed to the space is crucial – go for it”
- “Don’t take the space over a team mate (or someone next to you), be aware of the players at the sides as well as in front”