EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Shapeshifters

To have a successful rugby team, your backs have to be able to ruck and your forwards have to be able to pass in open play. Without those skills, your team will struggle to maintain continuity. This session challenges players to change roles and adapt quickly.


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


What to think about

Even at rugby’s top level, some players will refuse to play a wider role in the game.

But your number 10 might have to ruck if the ball has been delivered to the number 12.

Or your hooker might need to fix and pass to the wing if the ball is switched back from the phase after the lineout.

This session creates incidents where decisions to use these skills will have to be made. It also moves quickly between different scenarios. So, a back might be carrying out their normal passing play and then have to switch on to ruck.

Set-up

  1. At the breakdown, decide if you are needed to ruck. Not, if it’s your job to.
  2. In open play, offer an attacking threat with or without the ball, but above all avoid contact.

What you get your players to do

Put two ruck pad holders about 3 metres to the side of a ruck pad on the ground. Place two defenders by the corners of this ruck pad. Have five attackers with a ball opposite the ruck pad holders and two other players out to the side, as in the top picture.

Tell the ball carrier and attackers to run into the pads and clear them away so a clean ball is presented. Once it is identified as clean, the attackers flow round, attack through the channel on the other side of the ruck pad on the ground.

The pad holders drop their pads and defend this channel, whilst the two other defenders do not move from the pad on the ground until the ball is released.

Allow full contact in the channel. If more than one ruck is formed, then stop the play.

Set up the pad holders and defenders as above. Have a set of attackers go into the pads and clear out.

Set up the pad holders and defenders as above. Have a set of attackers go into the pads and clear out.


Development

  1. Remove the ruck pads, making all contact live.
  2. Have two stations running at the same time for two minutes, so the players have to reorganise and swap stations after every attempt.
  3. Impose a width restriction on the open channel.
Once the ball is presented cleanly, the attackers flow round and attack the channel. The pad holders and two other defenders move in to stop them.

Once the ball is presented cleanly, the attackers flow round and attack the channel. The pad holders and two other defenders move in to stop them.


Game situation

Set up the players as in the bottom picture (you could have groups of four or five and uneven groups). Pass the ball to one of the 9s beside you telling him which way to pass. He passes to that group who attack through this channel. The other players run from the other box to support.

After the first contact, the attacking team can score anywhere along the end line. Play normal rugby Laws.

Pass to one of the 9s, who passes to one of his groups. This group attacks with all the other players moving in to support attack and defence.

Pass to one of the 9s, who passes to one of his groups. This group attacks with all the other players moving in to support attack and defence.


What to call out

  • “Don’t spread out as one line in attack, offer options from deep”
  • “Do the contact job first, then think about using the recycled ball”
  • “Scan the defence to identify mismatches”
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