Rugby Attack!

All the core attacking moves you'll ever need... featuring tried and tested moves from rucks, mauls, penalties and open play
Dan Cottrell


Every team needs a set of moves up its sleeve to use from set pieces and in open play. Pre-prepared plays that help you produce co-ordinated attacks that suit your team’s strengths and target a weakness in the opposition.

That’s exactly what you’ll get with Rugby Attack!


Each of the 27 moves in Rugby Attack! is clearly illustrated, to show you how the play will unfold, and comes with a checklist of advantages and disadvantages to help you know exactly when to use each play:

  • Where on the pitch the play is best executed – in their 22, from scrum
  • The types of player it suits – a quick 8, an attack minded 15
  • How to set up the move – pass early to 10, create a deep offside line
  • Why the move works – it targets an opponent’s weak 13, breaks up a drift defence
  • How to spot and correct common mistakes – start your 14 deeper, have the decoy run closer to defenders
  • What to think about – techniques to develop, ways to adapt the move.

Simple, straightforward rules to enable your players to get into the right positions to pass, receive, take contact, break into space and score more tries. You’ll also receive three unique tools to help you coach and use them.

Tool #1 – Move Finder

This unique tool also shows you:

  • The level of difficulty of the move
  • Which moves to use to exploit your strengths
  • Which moves to use to exploit a defensive weakness
  • The position on the pitch a move is best from.

Tool #2 – Game Planner

Helps you to set out the plays you are going to use in the match, where and when. You can use the Game Planner template for every match.

Tool #3 – Player Sheets

Help your players to understand and remember their roles and responsibilities. With your assistance, get them to fill them out during a team meeting.

Everything you need to create a successful rugby attack

Ruck Moves

Ruck moves get forwards attacking the 10 metres or so around the edge of the ruck or maul. Too frequently, though, they are only used from “slow ball”.

Yet they can be used with great effect to attack time and again close to the ruck, to pull in defenders and create gaps, or simply to wind down the clock.

Penalty Moves

With the introduction of more free kicks into the game there is a good case for teams to use more penalty moves, where the ball is tapped and played rather than kicked away.

I have included two simple examples in Rugby Attack!, the pivot particularly being a move that can be easily expanded.

Back Row Moves

Back row moves are advantageous for two key reasons. First, the action happens closer to the gain line. Second, with the opposition pack bound in, they allow your quicker players to exploit the space between the scrum and the backs.

Even weaker scrummaging sides can use back row moves to their advantage, by producing a quick ruck close to the scrum


If your first or second moves don’t break down a defence, your players must be prepared to support through the phases.

By calling a single “sequence”, with a number of pre-set plays rather than a series of calls for individual moves, your players will know what they have to do and where they have to be.

Backs Moves

I have used these backs moves to score tries with all the sides I have played with and coached, from youth teams to those containing senior international players.

From my experience even basic moves like a miss pass or switch need careful consideration.

First, the players have to understand the purpose of the move in the context of the match – why this move here and why now? For instance are you looking to score or bust out of your 22?

Second, they need to know that the move does not just finish after the execution – they should be thinking about what happens next.

Third, there are crucial variations you can make to suit your team’s strengths. Let’s say you’ve got a right winger who can pass long off both hands. Perhaps you want to bring him infield sometimes to move the play quickly left.

The 27 Plays:

  1. Unders and Overs
  2. Miss 12 (M1)
  3. 10-12 Switch (S1)
  4. Dummy Switch Pop (DSP)
  5. 12-13 Switch (S2)
  6. Miss 13 (M2)
  7. Miss Miss (M3)
  8. Dummy Switch Miss (DSM)
  9. Slice
  10. Split Hit / Split Miss
  11. Rangy
  12. Lomu
  13. 10 Loop (L1)
  14. Midfield Move
  15. Three Man Blast
  16. Nutmeg
  17. Pick and Go
  18. Nagging
  19. Pivot
  20. 8 Pick and Go
  21. 8-9-14
  22. 9-10-8
  23. 8-7
  24. Cowboy
  25. Short, Short, Wide
  26. Flash Back
  27. Stretch

A must-have to win more games

Rugby Attack! will equip your players to attack from rucks, scrums, lineouts and penalties, as well as in open play. With practise your players will then learn to make snap decisions about the plays to use to best exploit a weakness in the opposition.

Let’s say your opponents have stopped to talk to the ref about a free kick he’s just awarded your team. Wouldn’t you like your players to have the ability to judge whether now is a good time to tap and go?

Delivered with clear instructions and objectives to make your coaching more definite and less ambiguous, Rugby Attack! is a must-have for all teams wanting to win more games.


Ebook, Print, Ebook + Print

12 reviews for Rugby Attack!

  1. Avatar

    Chuck Hamilton

    “Rugby Attack! has been a valuable asset in my arsenal.

    As a volunteer coach with only three hours a week to prep my university side, I need tools to shorten the learning curve of my players.

    Rugby Attack! does just that, allowing me to fit more learning into less time.”

    – Chuck Hamilton – Head Coach – Northwestern University Rugby Program – USA

  2. Avatar

    Dennis Fitzpatrick

    “I’ve found the Rugby Attack extremely easy to use.

    It has allowed a certain amount of delegation and fits in nicely in my objective to adopt a more ‘player centred’ approach to the team.

    Highly recommended to both Level 1 and Level 2 coaches”

    – Dennis Fitzpatrick – Chelmsford RFC – UK

  3. Avatar

    Luk Vermeulen

    Including a selection of Rugby Attack’s moves into our practices and game plan has kept things interesting and varied for my players.

    They are eager to learn new things to try and beat their opponents, and Rugby Attack! affords me that opportunity.

    I recommend this guide highly.

    – Luk Vermeulen – Coach U19, Gent Rugby FC – Belgium

  4. Avatar

    Andrew Junge

    I have used Rugby Attack this year to give my team options in all situations. It is clear to understand and effective when implemented.

    A team without organised attack patterns and plays should use Rugby Attack- you will see the difference

    – Andrew Junge – The Armidale School, NSW, Australia

  5. Avatar

    Andrew Schneider

    This compilation of attack moves will benefit any and all rugby teams.

    As a coach for a high school varsity girls team, I know that many of the plays, and theories behind them, have helped many of the players on our squad to learn a variety of sound offensive moves.

    With the added difficulty of some of the more advanced plays, this book promises to provide plenty of fuel for our rugby program here at the high school for many years to come.

    The complexity and execution of our team’s ball movement improves every year.

    – Andrew Schneider – Coach: Arnprior District High School – Varsity girls rugby – Canada

  6. Avatar

    Ian McGonigle

    I have found that Rugby Attack like all rugby coaches manuals suits the busy teacher.

    It is easy to ready has clear concise advice and as the saying goes ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’

    – Ian McGonigle – Head of Boys’ P.E. – Belfast Royal Academy

  7. Avatar

    Scott Kennedy

    I currently coach a boys U15 team and used rugby attack for the first time last year.

    The moves are well laid out and simple to understand. As well as telling you what to do this also tells you where to do it which has proved invaluable.

    Since I have introduced some of these moves our attack has been slicker and more productive.

    During this season in 33 games played we failed to score a try in only 1 of those. This is a brilliant piece of material and I doubt if there is a coach/team out there that would not benefit from using it.

    Rugby Attack has been a great help to me.

    Keep up the good work.

    – Scott Kennedy – Romford and Gidea Park U15 – UK

  8. Avatar

    Kevin Cox

    “Rugby Attack has opened up new ideas and thought processes in the backs and (believe it or not!) forwards as well.

    They are well laid out, simple to explain and to execute and, most importantly, effective.

    We recently played our closest rivals and, after suffering defeat at their hands over the past 5 years (bar 1 victory by 1 point), we came out victors by using some of the moves in the manual – they opened up the defence well.

    Another bonus is that the lads are now taking them and building their own variations by using them as the basis for moves and developing continuity.”

    – Kevin Cox – Chinnor RFC U17s Forwards Coach – UK

  9. Avatar

    Robbie Broadhurst

    As the coach of a successful U14 squad, I am always looking for ways for them to improve.

    Rugby Attack, with its easy to follow layout and helpful hints, did just that.

    Whilst many of the moves are ones I have used as a player, to see them laid out with an explanation of why they work, really helped me in getting the key points across to the boys.

    Did it help? It sure did; unbeaten in regular fixtures and winners of the County Cup and county 7s!

    – Robbie Broadhurst Head of Youth Rugby – Beccehamian RFC – UK

  10. Avatar

    David Perry

    Rugby Attack has been a great aid to our team.

    Both my playing and coaching experience has previously focused on back play, so I found the ruck moves and back row moves particularly helpful in my transition to a head coaching position.

    After implementing many of the plays from Rugby Attack in the last few weeks of our spring season, I could already see our team progressing from a haphazard to a more organized attack.

    I look forward to capitalizing on this organization in our fall season.

    – David Perry, Coach, Lehigh University Men’s Rugby – USA

  11. Avatar

    Allan Spark

    On behalf on Gibraltar Dragons Junior Rugby I am more than happy to endorse Rugby Attack.

    It has certainly helped us develop our youth section and since we know little or nothing about rugby for a group of beginners, it has certainly brought us up and I would recommend it to anyone.

    – Allan Spark – Gibraltar Dragons Rugby – Spain

  12. Avatar

    David Gordon

    Rugby Attack has helped my team understand what options are available to them at set piece plays and at certain parts of the park.

    They now have a set of strike moves and they are scoring trys!

    – David Gordon under 16s Coach Preston Lodge – UK

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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.