Effective multi-phase rugby

Good shape in rugby means your players are into position quickly to attack from the next phase. The shape refers to threatening alignments, with all ball-carrying options well supported.

It’s essential that your players have the correct mindset around shape. You are looking to bust the line every time you have the ball. A significant dent, a dent that draws in defenders, will allow you to break in the next phase. However, if the players are so busy “getting into shape” they fail to attack the next weakness then you are actually undoing all the good work from the previous dent.

By using pods of players, you are readying yourself to support a lightning attack, not simply rush with a load of players into an organised defence. The pod must be dynamic, changing form as it sets up, moves and attacks. As long as the players have some form of connection, they can support a ball carrier through contact or through a gap.

In Pods attack, we have a pod attack exercise to help develop some form of organisation. However, players need to be aware of who’s on their feet and who’s not, rather than have a pod they normally work with. From a set-piece, you might be able to identify who will arrive first. After that, your team must react accordingly.

In training, I reckon to go through a maximum of three phases with pods before something else needs to happen. In other words, there has to be a line break, a kick or we just start again.

That’s game realistic for me.

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