Chain reaction

Try this fun game to help players work on defensive organisation. By forming a physical defence chain, players work together to stop attackers from scoring. This game also helps attackers identify gaps on the wings and learn to execute opportunities.

It develops an idea from Andrew Drayton who coaches Crediton girls, Devon.


  1. Set up a long, narrow box approximately 15m wide by 20m long.
  2. Split into groups of 3 attackers v 4 defenders or 2 v 3.
  3. Start the defenders at the halfway line, with defenders making a chain using rope, pool noodles, or bibs.


  1. The attackers aim to score on the opposition try line using normal passing and evasive skills.
  2. The defenders aim to herd the attackers back up the pitch, using the chain to control the space.
  3. If an attacker drops the ball or makes contact with the chain, the attempt finishes.
  4. The attack has three attempts. Each time they score, they have another three attempts to score. Adjust to suit your players.
  5. If the defence breaks the chain, then the attackers can breakthrough. Players who were in the middle of the chain cannot make a touch with their free hand.


  • Play with no ball.
  • Defenders have to encircle attackers to eliminate them, attackers must make it to the opposition try line to survive the next round.
  • If an attacker is eliminated, they join the defensive chain.


The girls enjoy this in training because of the challenge to maintain the chain in defence and break the chain in attack. It is easy for them pick up any flaws in defence. From my point of view, I can see who is switched in attack to exploit gaps and breaks.


  • Be aware of the defender next to you so you don’t break the chain.
  • Follow the pass in attack to add supporting options.
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