EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Turnover: One, two – attack!

Turnover ball can be as important an attacking weapon as clean setpiece ball. Quick use of the turnover ball can make it even more potent. This session builds on the tactic of clearing the ball from the danger area with two passes. The final game adds in the key factor of not knowing exactly when the turnover is going to occur.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 5-8
Development time: 5-8
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-7


What to think about

In your own 22m, you might want to clear the ball upfield as far as possible. The opposition probably won’t be in position to field such a kick.

Outside your 22m, you may want to hold onto the ball more than kick it.

“One, two – attack!” gives your players time to see what is on and then run, pass or kick.

Some teams are more comfortable having a set plan from the turnover while others see what is front of them and play.

Set-up

  1. The first player to the turnover ball must clear it away from the contact area immediately.
  2. The first receiver must pass it on again quickly.
  3. The second receiver then weighs up options – run, pass or kick.

What you get your players to do

In a 10m wide area, start three players at three coned-off 3m runs. Place a ball beside a cone directly opposite one of them. This represents the point of a turnover. Shout “GO” and that player runs to the ball. The other two run forward until they are level with the ball then turn to face where they started.

This has simulated them getting back to defend at a ruck and now they are simulating turning the ball over.

The player with the ball quickly passes to the nearest player who passes it on to the farthest player just as quickly. This last player runs back to his starting cone, with the other two players in support and the ball is passed back down the line (see picture 1).

A ball is put 3m away by a cone and all three players run their line to get level with the ball. They all turn and the first player gathers the ball then quickly passes it the middle player who in turn offloads it wide just as quickly. The end player then runs back with his team mates in support and passes down the line.

A ball is put 3m away by a cone and all three players run their line to get level with the ball. They all turn and the first player gathers the ball then quickly passes it the middle player who in turn offloads it wide just as quickly. The end player then runs back with his team mates in support and passes down the line.


Development

Now add two defenders with ruck pads (see picture 2). They can start any distance behind the passing team, depending on the pressure you want to exert. They target the first two attacking players, aiming to make strong contact with their pads as soon as the ball is reached and disrupt the two quick passes down the line.

Two defenders track the first two attackers to put them under pressure when the ball is reached. They are aiming to disrupt the two quick passes down the line.

Two defenders track the first two attackers to put them under pressure when the ball is reached. They are aiming to disrupt the two quick passes down the line.


Game situation

Play four attackers v seven defenders in a 30m square. The attack sets off from the midway point, playing normal rugby rules. Attackers are only allowed to commit two players to the breakdown. Eventually, they either score or the ball gets turned over and the defending team scores.

You can hold a ball yourself and throw it into the game to act as a random, unexpected turnover situation (see picture 3).

Four attackers take the ball forward in a 30m square, with only the ball carrier and one other allowed in contact against seven defenders. This should lead to a turnover. You can also throw a ball in anytime to create a turnover.

Four attackers take the ball forward in a 30m square, with only the ball carrier and one other allowed in contact against seven defenders. This should lead to a turnover. You can also throw a ball in anytime to create a turnover.


What to call out

  • “Pass before you run”
  • “First two receivers: Don’t look for depth”
  • “End player: Look up and scan the area”
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