Introducing rugby skills through netball variations

Rugby netball is a great game for anyone in rugby, whether they’ve just started playing or not, whether they’re male or female. However, for women and girls coming into a rugby environment, perhaps for the first time, rugby netball can be an accessible game to help them learn the rules.

You can simply add in different rules to transition the netball game into a game of touch. However, the game of rugby netball on its own is also a fertile ground for practice design and player development. Here are a few variations to make rugby netball a key training game for you and your players.


The objective is to score as many points as possible, by touching the ball down on their own coloured cones. The game is best played with around 6 aside. There are potential levels to add that can progress the game

  1. Set up a large circle formed of two coloured cones, alternating between each colour
  2. Standard rugby netball rules: the ball can be passed in any direction, but no moving with the ball
  3. Each team is assigned a colour, they score by putting the ball on any of their coloured cones.
  4. Once a team scores, the ball is turned over.

Potential levels to add:

Level 2: Dropped balls are instant turnover
Level 3: Add around 4-5 cones of a different colour in the circle, don’t tell the players the purpose of the cones. If a team scores on the cones, they get to retain possession.

I want to create something that took the players out from the standard grid and made them think about the space around them differently. By adding the level with the different coloured cone, I wanted to add another dimension of problem-solving. It forces the players to think and react to a new problem in the game without being told too much.


  1. Set up a box but with coloured cones to mark out for square scoring zones
  2. The two teams are allowed to score in any coloured zone, but they cannot score in the same colour consecutively (red then red for example).
  3. Teams can score in a different coloured zone and then go back to the original zone to score (red, blue, red for example).

Potential levels to add:
Level 2: Reducing the scoring zones. For example, one team can only score on red and yellow, the other on blue and green
Level 3: Once a team has scored on a colour, they cannot score on it again until they’ve scored on all the colours

I want to focus the players onto different scoring zones, which would enable me to put different constraints on the game, to work on their problem-solving abilities.


  1. Set out a box with different coloured lines for the try lines. Mark the areas closest to the touchline one colour and the centre a different colour
  2. Teams get standard points for scoring in the outer sections and double points for scoring in the centre areas
  3. An additional variation to this game is to not tell the players the rules about the different points scoring, but let players figure it out.

My thinking behind this game was to create a scenario similar to ones players might encounter within a game of touch or another training game, but place it within a rugby netball game. It’s a great way to transition anyone new to rugby with a game that focuses on traditional scoring try lines.

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