International Rugby Coaching the Collectors’ Series Volume 2

Learn from Students of the Game
Dan Cottrell

36 coaching articles from top coaches, covering, skills and training, set pieces and tactics and coaching and management. This is a book for experienced coaches looking for in-depth advice from experts in the game.


I thoroughly enjoyed pulling together the second book in the Collectors’ Series because there are so many great coaches who want to share their experiences. The volume is split into three sections, focusing on skills and training, set pieces and tactics and finally, coaching and management. The last section has 2 successful Six Nations coaches talking about how they prepare their teams, England’s Stuart Lancaster and Wales’ Rob Howley. I was particularly struck by Howley’s approach to fitness and the gain line. It seems the simplest ideas get lost in the detail sometimes.

All of the pieces in this book have been written by coaches who have achieved many accolades in the game, whether in coaching World Cup final teams, premier league teams or educating the next set of internationals.

When I was compiling this book one of the things I was looking for was clarity of thought. Sessions that make the complicated straightforward, the jargon make sense, the playbook usable, defence achievable, and management deliverable.

IRC is a great opportunity to learn from students of the game. The kind of coaches who learn from each other and are always looking to improve. You can find new ideas as well as guidance to improve on your existing level of coaching. Get coaching guidance from:

Dick Muir: Director of Rugby Durban club side Crusaders

Rob Howley: Wales National Coach

Stuart Lancaster: Former head coach of the English national rugby union team

Conor O’Shea: Head coach of the Italian national team

Session name
Skills & Training
Conor O’SheaDirector of Rugby, London Harlequins, Aviva PremiershipThe mindset of the best teams is to counter attack
Rob AppleyardWales U20 skills coach and Dragons assistant coachControl their attack with your defence
Damien HillAssistant coach, RaboDirect Melbourne RebelsTraining with the Rebels
Simon MiddletonLeeds Carnegie, Aviva PremiershipInclude more skills drill in training
Craig LesebergBrumbies coaching and development manager and former scrum-halfThe end of the sweep pass?
Jamie HamiltonPerformance analyst and halfback coach at the Canterbury Crusaders, the Super 14 teamSuper 14 halfback training
Jan BonneyAcademy manager, Saracens RFCOne session a week team prep
Liam MidletonZimbabwe 7s coach and Bristol Academy coachLeopard crawling to keep the ball
Roy SaundersColts coach at Sunnybanks RFC, Premier League team in AustraliaJockey for better support
Margot WellsDirector of Wellfast, Margot Wells school of speedYou can’t tackle what you can’t catch
Mark CalverleyHead of PE at Westlake College, New Zealand, and an IRB Level 4 coachSuccessful tackle
Ben WhitakerARU talent development coordinatorMake clever players, not just more technical and physical players
Ian Mac DonaldCoach at the Golden Lions, and position specific coach at the Investec International Rugby AcademyMaster the breakdown
Set pieces & Tactics
Martin HaagForwards coach at Bath, Guinness PremiershipDominating the scrum
Andrew StrawbridgeAssistant coach, Auckland, and coaching advisor to NZ U20s (Baby Blacks)Baby Blacks defence
Bernard JackmanFormer Ireland hooker and now defence consultant at Grenoble RFCDefence from around the world
Tony HanksHead coach, Sale SharksUnlock the tightest and most well-organised defences with attacking shape
Gavin HickieFormer hooker for Leinster and Leicester, now coaching in the USWhat makes a good lineout session?
Barrie-Jon MatherFormer London Irish assistant coach and now head of player development for the Rugby Football LeagueWin more ball with a split kick off
Neal HatleyForwards coach, London Irish, Aviva PremiershipBoosting your lineout lifters
Glenn DelaneyDirector of Rugby, Nottingham RFCBreaking their defensive system
Lee MearsCurrent England international hookerCows don’t drink tea anymore: The role of the hooker at the lineout
Jim LoveFormer New Zealand Maori coach, and Chief Executive of the New Zealand Sports AcademyThe last resort for continuity
Matt RowleyGreenandGoldRugby.comKicking to break up and beat teams
Keith RichardsonFormer editor of the RFU Technical Journal, author and Level 4 coaching mentorPerfecting your scrum session
Stuart LancasterEngland Saxon coach and head of elite player developmentDeveloping chefs and not cooks
Rob HowleyWales assistant coachThinking about your next play, not your next breath
Dale McIntoshWales U18s assistant coach, Cardiff Blues academy coach, Pontypridd CoachCoaching the Chief’s way
Richard GrahamHead coach, Western Force, Perth, AustraliaPreparing for the Super 15 championship 2012
Mark MapletoftEngland U20s coachTrain how you play
Tony HanksDirector of Rugby, London Wasps, Aviva PremiershipCoaching old hands
Kevin GeorgeAcademy manager Scarlets and head coach of Welsh Premiership champions, LlanelliSemi-professional rugby challenges
Bill BeswickLeading applied sports psychologistHow to help your team perform under pressure
Dave HadfieldMindplus, a leading New Zealand based mental skills trainer and hi-perf consultant to the Wellington HurricanesDecision-making – a key part of World Cup Victory
Mike AllenAge group coaching co-ordinator, Hong Kong Rugby UnionA six-point plan to break out of a losing streak
Alan MartinovicDirector of rugby academy, Hartpury College“Heads up rugby” – myths and methods

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Dan is a practising RFU Level 3 coach and coach educator. He coaches with the Bristol Bears DPP programme and is a coach mentor for Broad Plain RFC mini and juniors section. He was Head Coach of Swansea Schools U15 and has previously held coaching roles with the Young Ospreys Academy and as Assistant Coach with the Wales Women's Team for the 2010 World Cup.