This is an adaptation of a game I use in school. It’s great as a warm-up or as a game to encourage and support creativity before moving towards a more rugby-specific game. It encourages and challenges evasion skills, spatial awareness, communication, as well as passing, kicking and catching. MORE
Three games to improve fitness and skills
Key factors for all three games
- The players pass and catch using two hands on the ball at all times. The ball is turned over if the referee thinks that the player has failed to do this.
- They are hard games, using stop/start fitness similar to normal season games but with less body impact. Don’t have too many breaks.
Two-handed five-touch rugby
Start and restart the game by taking a tap penalty-type kick on the halfway line.
When touched (two hands), the player plays the ball between his legs (play the ball) for a team mate to pick up and either run with or distribute the ball. The opposition has to retreat two metres back from the “play the ball”. Any infringement to this and the attacking team goes back to five touches.
Passes that “go astray” or go to ground can be tidied up by the attacking team, with no penalty, or be intercepted or turned over immediately by the defending team with no “play the ball”.
On the fifth touch, the ball is handed over to the opposition which starts with a TAP PENALTY while the opposition is two metres away.
A score can only be counted if ALL of the attacking team players are inside the 15m line in the attacking half, when the ball is touched down.
Soak up/low tackle, power walking rugby
The game starts and restarts on the halfway line with a two-on-two uncontested scrum, using any two players. The team putting the ball in always wins the ball and there is no pushing.
The game restarts, after a score, on the halfway line with a scrum, with the non-scoring side winning the ball. Players move by “power walking”, which means walking as fast they can without breaking into a jog. This reduces the impact at the tackle. Otherwise use normal rugby rules, with any infringement leading to an uncontested scrum (as above).
The referee plays advantage where possible. Tackling can only be (“soak up”) around the legs. Any higher tackles will result in a stoppage and scrum to the opposition. Players attacking with the ball should be encouraged to be positive at all times and “go forward” accepting the inevitable “soak up” tackle.
Players concentrate on controlling the ball by either “wrapping around” the tackler’s body and offloading to a supporting player or “wrapping around” the tackler’s body to “post” or present the ball for supporting players to pick up and run or pass.
Start the game on the halfway line with a simple pass backwards. The ball carrier is allowed three seconds to move the ball on to another player.
The ball can be passed in any direction as long as it is passed with two hands. No torpedo-style passes are allowed. If the ball goes to the ground the team responsible for passing it or knocking it (attempted intercept) to the ground will lose possession. The opposition will restart with a simple pass (within three seconds).
There is no contact. The team defending can mark opposition players and attempt to intercept passes. Tight marking will ensure first, the possibility of interception or second, forcing a delay of the pass (that is more than three seconds) to effect the turnover ball.
To score, in addition to the pass being taken cleanly over the goal line, all of the attacking players must be within 15m of the end they are attacking (“flood support”). Following a score the defending team will restart the game with a simple pass from the “in-goal” area.