EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Scrap for the ball

There is a lot of “wrestling” for the ball in rugby. Ball carriers want to hold on to the ball, while defenders want to rip it away. A wrestle might develop into a maul. This session works on both attackers and defenders learning how to protect or win the ball.


Warm up time: 5
Session time: 6-9
Development time: 6-9
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7


What to think about

Upper body strength will count for much in a wrestle situation but this can be overcome with different techniques.

First, encourage the ball carrier to keep their upper body and arms moving while the defender tries to rip the ball. This can unbalance the ripping player and also make it harder for them to find a good grip.

Second, try to get the ripping player to seek out “levers” and “handles” on the ball carrier. These are the gaps and holes between arms, body and ball. Dislodge a lever to reveal the ball.

Finally, for both sets of players, make them use their feet to generate power, either up, sideways or down. This will help them drive the ball in the direction they want.

Set-up

  1. Ball carrier: Keep rolling the shoulders to keep the ball away from the defence.
  2. Defender: Get your arms inside their arms and between the ball and the body.

What you get your players to do

Put two attackers each with a ball in one half of the circle and three defenders in the other half (picture 1). On your shout of “GO” the attackers move into the defenders’ half.They must retain the ball for 10 seconds (picture 2).

If a defender goes out of the circle, he must return through the attackers’ side. If an attacker goes out of the circle, he must return immediately. If the ball is ripped from one attacker, the defender or defenders can move on to work on the other attacker.

Put two attackers each with a ball in one half of the circle and three defenders in the other half.

Put two attackers each with a ball in one half of the circle and three defenders in the other half.


Development

Allow the defenders to pull down the attacker but not tackle him by his legs.

Add another two attackers to support the ball carriers.

Release the attackers into the defensive half. They have 10 seconds to retain the ball. Any defender who goes out of the circle has to restart by coming through the attacking circle. If the attacker leaves the circle he has to come straight back in.

Release the attackers into the defensive half. They have 10 seconds to retain the ball. Any defender who goes out of the circle has to restart by coming through the attacking circle. If the attacker leaves the circle he has to come straight back in.


Game situation

Put three attackers each with a ball in the far box and a defender in each of the other three boxes (see picture 3). The defenders have to stay in their boxes. They can tackle at hip height and above.

The attack has 30 seconds to score as many tries as possible at the fare end of the channel. If an attacker goes out at the side of the channel he has to start again from the beginning. The time limit is an incentive for defenders to grab on to the ball to slow down the progress.

Put three attackers each with a ball at one end of the channel area and and one defender in each of the remaining three boxes. The attackers aim to score a point at the far end of the channel. If they are dragged out of the box, then they have to go to the beginning point again. They have 30 seconds.

Put three attackers each with a ball at one end of the channel area and and one defender in each of the remaining three boxes. The attackers aim to score a point at the far end of the channel. If they are dragged out of the box, then they have to go to the beginning point again. They have 30 seconds.


What to call out

  • “Ball carrier: Keep a strong base and keep the ball away from the defenders”
  • “Defenders: Get close to make contact”
  • “Defenders: Short, sharp drags and pulls will dislodge the ball – surprise the attacker”
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