Sharp attack

From Rugby Coach Weekly

When I first used this game it really sorted out who could seriously progress as a rugby player. It was with a representative under 25s team. Most of the players had tasted academy rugby and this was another chance to show whether they were up to moving up to next level.

Work on quick attacking skills in a short but wide area. Despite the short distance to the try line, the attacking team will need to put pace onto the ball to score more often.It’s a pretty easy game to understand, but it puts the players under real pressure to work hard in attack as support players. You could see quickly who “got it”. Others didn’t, and yet they were determined to find out. The rest didn’t see the point, or complained when it went wrong, it’s a great way to see who on your team has real potential or determination to learn. Though I didn’t record exactly who said or did what at the time, but I know many from the first two groups went onto gain semi-pro contracts, and one played for his country.

Why use it

This game improves passing accuracy and teaches players to hold their depth in order to get the ball out wide.

Set up

Play 6v4 on a 25m wide area between the tryline and 5m line.

Sharp attack

How to do it

Start the six attackers on the 5m line with a ball. They run forward to score over the far end (see picture 1). They must run with the ball over the try line, not dive.

The defenders run forward and cover (see picture 2). If they touch the ball carrier before he scores a try, or the ball is dropped, intercepted, thrown forward or goes out of play then the attack must restart on the 5m line and all the defenders retreat to the try line (see picture 3). This is the same when a try is scored. The attack can restart as soon as the ball is on the 5m line. After a try or turnover, the defence can advance as soon as they are back on their line, increasing the pressure on the attack to get ready quickly. Play for two minutes continuously and count up the score.


  • Run straight
  • Pass hard
  • Hold your run.
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