How to coach a decoy runner

How often do we want to move the ball wide in the game as part of our game plan, but find that props, and their lanky brethren the second rowers, end up in the midfield at the wrong time? If so, Better Rugby Coaching introduces you to the idea of the "selfless runner".

Most, but not all, props are the less speedy, less dextrous players. Many locks fit this bill as well. They can, however, play an important part in the wide ball game.

Decoy runner

A prop can act as a decoy runner (dummy runner) to hold the defence for a few moments, before the player they are supporting manages to move the ball outwards. Ideally the prop will run at a different angle and, if necessary, be prepared to take a pop pass if the pressure is too great to move the ball on. They are missed out otherwise.

In rugby training drills, when practising the wide ball game, get the players to identify the selfless runners and the passers. Then get them to re-adjust before receiving the ball.

Drill to show how the selfless runner works

The Selfless Runner

Player "1" passes wide to player "2". Player "PP1" (a prop) runs towards "2", thus holding the defenders. Player "2" misses out "PP1" with a pass to "3". As "2" throws wide to "3", "PP2" (the other prop or a lock) runs behind "3" as if to take the ball. This creates space for the pass from "3" to "4" wide out.

Players "PP1" and "PP2" should stand just behind the receivers and choose their line of running only once the receiver starts to move. Their running lines should not be pre-planned.

This article is taken from the Better Rugby Coaching e-newsletter. Click here to sign up and get free rugby coaching drills, tips and skills twice a week. 

Click here for decoy and deception rugby coaching drills.

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