“Box out” breakout game for better clearing passes

Quick clearing passes, the pass away from the tackle or ruck, are an essential skill which will keep your game functioning at high speed. Encourage all your players to be able to pass away.

Delays with the clearance pass mean defences can get into position and it allows too much bunching from the attackers. The longer the ball stays on the ground, the more chance players will stack up for the next pass.

  1. Put a group of five players inside the small box, passing the ball around.

  1. When you say go, they run into the larger box.
  2. Shout (or whistle) “tackle” and the ball carrier goes to ground and presents the ball.
  3. The nearest player has three seconds to pass the ball.
  4. Repeat up the box, calling the “tackle” very quickly so they have at least three clearing passes to make before they exit the box at the far end.
  5. In the meantime, another group enter the small box, passing the ball around, ready to go.

Develop by ensuring the players make at least two passes. Also, that the passes must be made to a player moving forward. Develop by putting one defender in the box. He aims to touch the ball carrier. When touched, the ball carrier goes to ground and presents. The defender must get back onside.


A: If the clearing passer leans forward, he’s not looking up and unbalanced. The clearing passer should “sit” over the ball, so he is balanced and able to pass left or right.

B: Develop by adding a defender into the box. Every time he touches a ball carrier, that player goes to ground.

C: Further develop by having two passes away from the tackle.

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