High-return ball placement

Most ball placement drills are carried out without opposition – which isn’t realistic. To ensure your players learn the right shapes, use this low-impact session on the “jack knife” technique.

The “jack knife” – with the player bending in the middle – is the placement that occurs most regularly in a game. In all cases, the carrier must be in control of the ball and push it back to his team as far as he can.

  1. A ball carrier and a defender lie on their fronts 1m apart – use cones to show the distance.
  2. The defender indicates which shoulder the attacker should aim at.
  3. The carrier gets up and goes for that shoulder (he shouldn’t step out any further).
  4. The defender jumps up and tackles him, and the attacker places the ball back.
  5. Check that he has made a good placement.

  1. To develop, put a cone 5m behind each player and add another attacker and defender behind their team-mates.
  2. They support once the tackle is made.
  3. Again, the tackler dictates which shoulder the carrier runs at and the two support players compete for the ball after the tackle.

  1. Develop further by altering the starting positions of the support players.
  2. Reduce the impact by giving the support defender a ruck pad.


  • Fight to the ground.
  • Twist and turn to place the ball back.
  • Keep ball under control.
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