EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

The half back control panel

Put your half backs in control of the running plays. This session works on 10 organising their players around them. Both they and the support runners have to read the defence and aim to either attack space or take contact on the best terms. In the second part of the session 9, takes on more of the decision-making role.


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 most interesting part of this exercise will be how your 10 reacts to being either flatter or deeper. Whichever they choose, they need to engage the defence and still pass the ball to support runners in time for them to breach the line or take contact on their own terms.

When working against ruck pads, there is a danger the ball carrier will be lazy with his body angles. Be tough on this aspect. Also, it is worth making the ruck pad holders active once the ball carrier has gone to ground by making them use a spare arm to grab for the ball. This will make the ball carrier present the ball more accurately and the clearing players remove threats properly.

Set-up

  1. 10: Bring in your support players early with good communication but pass late to bring on the defence.
  2. 9: Bring the 10 on to the ball with your pass, so look where he wants to be, not where he is now.
  3. Support players: Keep the 10 informed of your running lines.

What you get your players to do

Spread out four ruck pad holders as in picture 1, with two directly in front of 10. Have two support players either side of 10.

When 9 passes to 10, they attack the ruck pads, passing to either of the support players (pop passes, switches, circle ball). When the ball carrier touches a pad, he goes to ground, with the other support player clearing over. 9 and 10 realign, with two more support players (see picture 2). Depending on your signal, 10 passes wide to the support players or goes again. The ruck pad holders remaining offer a line of defence to work against.

9 and 10 reset on the other side to work with the next four players.

A 10 running at the two ruck pad holders with two support players. When they take contact, they go to ground.

A 10 running at the two ruck pad holders with two support players. When they take contact, they go to ground.


Development

Add another support player, who can run off 9 from the second phase.

Add another support player from the first phase who aims to meet the first contact point in support. Optionally, add a defender without a ruck pad at this point to compete for the ball after the ball carrier has taken contact.

9 clears the ball to 10 who, depending on your signal, passes close or wide to the next set of support players. After this, 9 and 10 realign on the right hand side, with the next four support players working.

9 clears the ball to 10 who, depending on your signal, passes close or wide to the next set of support players. After this, 9 and 10 realign on the right hand side, with the next four support players working.


Game situation

Set up a 9 and 10 and four support players as in picture 3. They face two ruck pad holders and three non-ruck pad holders. Get the attack to run down the first channel, going to ground on the first contact.

The ball carrier does not need a support player to clear out. Count down how long before he can pass the ball. The attack then aims to score in the wide channel, with full contact, against the three defenders without ruck pads.

The attack works down the narrow channel until a support player touches a pad. On contact he goes down, you indicate when he can release the ball and the attack aims to score in the wide channel against three defenders, using full contact.

The attack works down the narrow channel until a support player touches a pad. On contact he goes down, you indicate when he can release the ball and the attack aims to score in the wide channel against three defenders, using full contact.


What to call out

  • “Attack the line at pace”
  • “Early calls from the support players”
  • “Change angles to keep the defence fixed”
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