EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Pod-by-pod go forward

In the multi-phase game, it is essential forwards are used in small groups. Each group wins the next breakdown in turn, avoiding aimless shifting from one ruck to the next. 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

Pods need to time their runs to meet the pass at full pace. Players should use “triggers” to begin their runs based on the movements of the scrum half before he passes. For instance, he might bend his knees before he passes.

Pods are aimed at producing quick ball to disorganise defences. 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 if there are gaps in the defence.

Set-up

  1. In your “pod” (group), beat the defence in front of you first and then recycle the ball.
  2. As the supporting pod, run around the back of the breakdown with enough depth to take a pass moving forward.
  3. 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 three gates of cones. The 9 pops the ball to a player in pod 1. This pod runs through the nearest gate, presents the ball for 9 to pass to pod 2 which is arcing around to attack the second gate.

Repeat for pod 1 to attack through the third gate and then start gain. Keep the exercise slow to make it more realistic (see picture 1).

Pod 1 takes the ball through the first gate and places it. It then moves while 9 passes to pod 2 to take the ball through the second gate. The ball is reset for 9 to pass to pod 1 to go through the third gate. The ball should be presented to pod 2 to start the activity again from the beginning.

Pod 1 takes the ball through the first gate and places it. It then moves while 9 passes to pod 2 to take the ball through the second gate. The ball is reset for 9 to pass to pod 1 to go through the third gate. The ball should be presented to pod 2 to start the activity again from the beginning.


Development

Make each pod go to ground as it goes 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 another player in defence without a ruck pad at each gate to compete for the ball on the ground.

Pod 1 awaits the first ruck while pod 2 (A, B, C , D) lies on the bags, ready for the second phase. 9 passes to attack 1 to take on defence 1. Defence 2 ( 1, 2, 3) prepare to defend when pod 2 become involved.

Pod 1 awaits the first ruck while pod 2 (A, B, C , D) lies on the bags, ready for the second phase. 9 passes to attack 1 to take on defence 1. Defence 2 ( 1, 2, 3) prepare to defend when pod 2 become involved.


Game situation

Split your team into two – eight attacking forwards in two pods of four along with a scrum half, fly half and a centre, against six to eight defenders.

  1. Pod 2 lies on top of two tackle bags. Pod 1 stands in a scrummage position in front of the bags. Defence 1 and 2 get ready, with defence 2 looking to defend against pod 2. The scrum half passes to attack 1 who drive into defence 1 (see picture 2).
  2. Pod 1 joins the ruck while pod 2 arcs round to take the next pass once the ball has been won (see picture 3). Build your pod attacks from these situations.
Pod 1 wins the ruck ball along with attack 1 (making it a 6v3) and pod 2 gets into position to take the next pass, looking to get past defence 2.

Pod 1 wins the ruck ball along with attack 1 (making it a 6v3) and pod 2 gets into position to take the next pass, looking to get past defence 2.


What to call out

  • “Change angles to attack the gate”
  • “Supporters: Tell the ball carrier what to do”
  • “Use triggers to time your run”
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