EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Whip it back

As a defence drifts across the pitch to cover attacking players, it becomes vulnerable to a switch in the direction of the attack. Often, however, when this switch is used it is on a whim of a single player, who goes on his own and ends up isolated. “Whip back” provides your team with a structured approach to the play.


Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 7-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7-10


What to think about

My team have really improved in their ability to “go with the flow” in attack. However, whilst at the start of the season it was a very effective play, teams have got used to it now and it is becoming predictable. How can we develop our attacking game plan so we can mix it up on the pitch?

Go with the flow can become very predictable if it is all a team has to offer in attack. “Whipping back” is an excellent addition to any attacking armoury and will exploit teams who get into a pattern of defending against “go with the flow”.

The key is to work with your key decision makers (usually 9 and 10) so they recognise the opportunities for whipping back. You then need a team call so every player knows what is happening and can react accordingly.

Set-up

  1.  Create quick ruck ball in the first two rucks by going the same way.
  2.  Whip back as late as possible so the defence don’t have time to react.

What you get your players to do

Groups of four run and pass down a narrow channel. At the end of the channel they pass the ball to a scrum half. The group run round the scrum half, receive a pop pass and fan out to attack a wide channel.

Players run and pass through a narrow channel before running round to attack through the wide channel.

Players run and pass through a narrow channel before running round to attack through the wide channel.


Development

  •  Three pods of three players practise going with the flow for two rucks and then quickly whipping back to attack the weak side.
  • Add defenders at each of the rucks to slow the ball down, forcing the attackers to secure quick possession.
  • Add a third ruck going with the flow and then use the first pod of players (who have to work across the pitch) to provide the whip back option.
The first two pods set up rucks and create quick ball “going with the flow”...

The first two pods set up rucks and create quick ball “going with the flow”...


Game situation

Play touch rugby with ten attackers against six defenders. The ball carrier has to go to ground after each touch and place the ball back. The defending team has to defend with two on one side of the tackle and four on the other. The attacking team has to recognise this and target the two defenders. This will sometimes involve going with the flow and sometimes whipping back. Encourage the defence to get organised quickly and the attacking team to play the ball quickly to speed up decision making.

... at the second ruck players from pod 3 whip round running onto the ball at pace.

... at the second ruck players from pod 3 whip round running onto the ball at pace.


What to call out

  •  “Scrum half: demand quick ball from the ruck”
  •  “Start the ‘whip back’ late and arrive onto the ball at pace”
  •  “Straighten up as soon as you have the ball”
  •  “Pass in front of the receiver”
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