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’Shea Director of Rugby, London Harlequins, Aviva Premiership The mindset of the best teams is to counter attack
Rob Appleyard Wales U20 skills coach and Dragons assistant coach Control their attack with your defence
Damien Hill Assistant coach, RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels Training with the Rebels
Simon Middleton Leeds Carnegie, Aviva Premiership Include more skills drill in training
Craig Leseberg Brumbies coaching and development manager and former scrum-half The end of the sweep pass?
Jamie Hamilton Performance analyst and halfback coach at the Canterbury Crusaders, the Super 14 team Super 14 halfback training
Jan Bonney Academy manager, Saracens RFC One session a week team prep
Liam Midleton Zimbabwe 7s coach and Bristol Academy coach Leopard crawling to keep the ball
Roy Saunders Colts coach at Sunnybanks RFC, Premier League team in Australia Jockey for better support
Margot Wells Director of Wellfast, Margot Wells school of speed You can’t tackle what you can’t catch
Mark Calverley Head of PE at Westlake College, New Zealand, and an IRB Level 4 coach Successful tackle
Ben Whitaker ARU talent development coordinator Make clever players, not just more technical and physical players
Ian Mac Donald Coach at the Golden Lions, and position specific coach at the Investec International Rugby Academy Master the breakdown
Set pieces & Tactics
Martin Haag Forwards coach at Bath, Guinness Premiership Dominating the scrum
Andrew Strawbridge Assistant coach, Auckland, and coaching advisor to NZ U20s (Baby Blacks) Baby Blacks defence
Bernard Jackman Former Ireland hooker and now defence consultant at Grenoble RFC Defence from around the world
Tony Hanks Head coach, Sale Sharks Unlock the tightest and most well-organised defences with attacking shape
Gavin Hickie Former hooker for Leinster and Leicester, now coaching in the US What makes a good lineout session?
Barrie-Jon Mather Former London Irish assistant coach and now head of player development for the Rugby Football League Win more ball with a split kick off
Neal Hatley Forwards coach, London Irish, Aviva Premiership Boosting your lineout lifters
Glenn Delaney Director of Rugby, Nottingham RFC Breaking their defensive system
Lee Mears Current England international hooker Cows don’t drink tea anymore: The role of the hooker at the lineout
Jim Love Former New Zealand Maori coach, and Chief Executive of the New Zealand Sports Academy The last resort for continuity
Matt Rowley Kicking to break up and beat teams
Keith Richardson Former editor of the RFU Technical Journal, author and Level 4 coaching mentor Perfecting your scrum session
Stuart Lancaster England Saxon coach and head of elite player development Developing chefs and not cooks
Rob Howley Wales assistant coach Thinking about your next play, not your next breath
Dale McIntosh Wales U18s assistant coach, Cardiff Blues academy coach, Pontypridd Coach Coaching the Chief’s way
Richard Graham Head coach, Western Force, Perth, Australia Preparing for the Super 15 championship 2012
Mark Mapletoft England U20s coach Train how you play
Tony Hanks Director of Rugby, London Wasps, Aviva Premiership Coaching old hands
Kevin George Academy manager Scarlets and head coach of Welsh Premiership champions, Llanelli Semi-professional rugby challenges
Bill Beswick Leading applied sports psychologist How to help your team perform under pressure
Dave Hadfield Mindplus, a leading New Zealand based mental skills trainer and hi-perf consultant to the Wellington Hurricanes Decision-making – a key part of World Cup Victory
Mike Allen Age group coaching co-ordinator, Hong Kong Rugby Union A six-point plan to break out of a losing streak
Alan Martinovic Director 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, is the assistant coach with University of Bristol Women's team 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. He was director of rugby for Cranleigh School, Surrey. Previously he played rugby for Bath and Bristol.