Do you have a breakdown policy? If not, you should. A policy helps guide players' actions at the breakdown. Alongside accurate skill execution, it can help to win the race to the space over the ball after a tackle. MORE
In the multi-phase game it is essential that forwards are used in small groups. Each group wins the next breakdown in turn, avoiding forwards aimless shifting from one ruck to the next. Normally these groups are called “pods”. This session develops a pod system.
Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 7-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 5-7
What to think about
What triggers can you use to coordinate attacks by each pod?
Pods need to time their runs to meet the pass at full pace. The players should use “triggers” to begin their runs based on the movements of the scrum half before he passes the ball. For instance, he might bend his knees before he passes.
How many phases should the pods be used for?
Pods are aimed at producing quick ball to disorganise the defence. Three quick phases with the pods should be sufficient. Otherwise players may not be able to get back into position quick enough. However your set plays should mix the number of phases pods are used for. Your team should be flexible enough to allow the ball to be passed away if there are glaring gaps in the defence.
- In your “pod” (group), beat the defence in front of you first and then recycle the ball.
- As the supporting pod, run around the back of the breakdown with enough depth to take a pass moving forward.
- Communicate to your team mates where you are and what you are going to do.
What you get your players to do
Split your forwards into two pods of three plus one player to act as scrum half (9). Start the two pods together at the side of at least four gates of cones. The 9 pops the ball to a player in the first pod. They run through the nearest gate, present the ball for 9 to pass to the next pod who are arcing around to attack the second gate. Repeat for the first pod to attach through the third gate and so on. Keep the exercise slow to make it more game realistic.
- Make each pod go to ground as they go through the gate, with the ball carrier being protected by the two others in the pod.
- Add a player with a ruck pad at each gate to add some resistance.
- Add a player in defence without a ruck pad at each gate to compete for the ball on the ground.
Split your team into two – eight attacking forwards in two pods of four, a scrum half, fly half and a centre, against up to eight defenders.
- One pod lies on top of two tackle bags. The other pod stands in a scrummage position in front of the bags. The scrum half passes the ball to the fly half who, with the centre, attack the defence in front of them.
- One of the pods supports and the other pod arcs round to take the next pass. Build your pod attacks from these situations.
What to call out
- “Change angles to attack the gate”
- “Supporters: tell the ball carrier what to do”
- “Use triggers to time your run”