Footwork and evasion

In rugby, footwork and evasion skills are the “fine arts” – ways to run with the ball and beat players with skill, pace and panache. These articles include ways to coach players to have “rugby speed” not just pace, and evade contact with nifty “rugby footwork”. Try one of the footwork and evasion drills below at your next session and see how you get on.

Spin out of contact

in Footwork and evasion, Rugby drills

Develop another evasive skill for the ball carrier by encouraging them to spin just before the tackle. The footwork needs experimenting with because it can unbalance players. Although spinning before contact slows you down a little and is less confrontational, there are occasions when it can allow you to break free from a defender and move into a space. MORE

Curves and jumps

in Footwork and evasion

Improve your players’ footwork as they run forward, so they beat opposition players, or at least create a chance for a good offload in contact. This is a simple session to set up and can be adjusted easily to suit the stages of your players’ development. MORE

Chase, catch and turn

in Footwork and evasion

Use this conditioning game to help your players develop better footspeed, evasive skills and stop/ start skills. It comes from basketball, and is easy to set up and certainly fun for the players. With thanks to Chris Oliver of, this is a conditioning exercises that the players will love. First, it’s competitive. Second, it has a risk/reward element which makes the players think tactically about their actions. Finally, it has some great rugby outcomes. MORE

How to develop and sharpen finishing 3

Finishing first

in Attack, Footwork and evasion, Practice plans

Scoring tries is too often a given skill. This session makes a virtue of good body positions. It creates a hard session which the players will enjoy because of the obvious potential outcomes, scoring tries. Your team will also learn how to protect the ball close to line and how to coordinate a last ditch defence. MORE

S lines for 2 v 1s

in Footwork and evasion

Develop the idea that if the ball carrier runs an S-line, they can draw in defenders and release support players to attack a flat, organised defence. The out-in-out nature of the run forces defenders to make decisions which creates enough disruption to pull them out of position.   MORE

Offline passing

in Footwork and evasion, Passing & Handling

Push the ball carrier to change his angles of running and your support runners to react so defences are not faced with easy patterns to defend. This session works on “off-the-cuff” movements of players, so tests their recognition of space and reactions to their own team mates. MORE

Scoring corners

in Footwork and evasion, Rugby drills

Use this activity to improve players’ ability to scan what’s in front of them. It will allow the players to develop their footwork options before contact or in open play. All the targets are in front of the ball carrier, so they will need to go forward but still avoid the defender. MORE

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