EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Straight lines or angles?

Players sometimes try to be too complicated when there may be easier ways to move the ball into space. This session works on developing running and passing skills against different defences. Players should run angles at a defensive overload and straight lines if they have an overlap.


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

The mechanics of running angles or straight only work if players have scanned and identified the threats and opportunities. Your players should have calls to indicate whether there is an overlap or a gap. The first receiver is often not in the best position to do this. He relies on the outside players, who should be scanning the defence and calling the situations.

When players are running straight and moving the ball quickly, the pass needs to be flat and firm. You might prefer players not to use spin passes either, because these can be more difficult to catch and pass on.

Set-up

  1. Change the angle of attack if there is no overlap.
  2. Run straight and move the ball quickly if there is an overlap.
  3. Communicate the options and hold your depth in attack.
  4. Hit the gap at pace.

What you get your players to do

Put three attackers 10m away from three defenders holding ruck pads in a 10m square. Give the ball to one of the attackers at the side and they attack the pads, attempting to burst through a gap without taking much contact (see picture 1). The defenders can move forward and sideways.

The attackers use angles of running to burst through gaps in the defence.

The attackers use angles of running to burst through gaps in the defence.


Development

Remove one of the pad holders to create a 3v2 overlap and encourage straight running. The defenders can only pressurise the first two attackers (see picture 2).

Add a feeding player and adjust the distances between the attack and defence to develop the practice further.

The attackers use straight running to hold the inside defenders and exploit the overlap.

The attackers use straight running to hold the inside defenders and exploit the overlap.


Game situation

Set up two ruck areas in a 30m square. Nominate a scrum half (9) and four attackers. Place them anywhere inside the playing area. Put four defenders with pads behind lettered cones (A, B, C, D). Call for two to four of the defenders to come forward, which ruck area 9 is to play from and how long players have to organise themselves before they can start. Let play develop (see picture 3).

Remove the pads to make the game more realistic. You can also secretly tell the defenders who is to run up.

You release two to four defenders. The attack has to decide whether to use angles or straight running to break down the defence.

You release two to four defenders. The attack has to decide whether to use angles or straight running to break down the defence.


What to call out

  • “Attack spaces. Change angles late”
  • “Tell the ball carrier if there is an overlap or an angle”
  • “Run straight by keeping the hips square on to the defender and only moving the shoulders up”
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