Rugby drill to get players attacking from a penalty


This is a simple move that any rugby coach can use. It’s quick and designed to catch the opposition off guard. A good nagging side is always aware of the opportunity to tap and go. If you don’t breakthrough straight away, it’s likely to be because the opposition hasn’t retreated 10 metres, so you win yourself another penalty now further upfield.

What players should do in this rugby drill

  • The first player to reach the ball (the “tapper”, in the example picture player “2”) takes a quick tap penalty.
  • Either: the tapper runs into the spaces besides the retiring defenders, with forwards filling in behind.
  • Or: the tapper immediately passes the ball to another player who also immediately passes it on. This is called “two pass nagging”. It moves the ball away from the bulk of the defenders and changes the focus of the attack. 

Attacking from a penalty

Common mistakes

  • The tapper taps badly. They must put the ball on the ground, tap it with a foot and then pick it up, or bounce it up off the foot. The ball must go through the mark made by the referee and leave the player’s hands. It cannot be bounced off the knee.
  • The first player runs into an opposition player and stops. Even if the opposition player is standing offside or is not retiring, the referee may not penalise him.

Key rugby coaching tips

Think about designating three forwards, plus the scrum half, to always be responsible for starting nagging moves. This will help reduce possible confusion and knock-ons from the tap.

Click here to get more moves to help your rugby coaching sessions with the Rugby Attack! manual.

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