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.

Twist and clout

in Footwork and evasion, Rugby drills

This session works on balance and reaction. Players enjoy the challenge of moving backward before racing forward with the ball or to tackle. There are lots of chances to use good communication and teamwork. ACTIVITY Three players run backwards in and out of the cones, before coming forward to receive a pass and attack two... MORE

Get out of my space

in Footwork and evasion, Rugby drills

Use competition to make players try different evasion skills. This session has one race and one game to challenge players to command their own space then find new spaces. ACTIVITY ŒThree face one way Two the other Players race to one of the cones in front of them and turn They aim to get through... MORE


in Footwork and evasion, Small-sided games

Use this rugby version of the popular arcade game to work on evasive skills, decision making and deception. By Josh Barlow, RDO for the Isle of Wight PacMen start where they want Ghosts start by the balls and pick one up on the call “GO” On “GO”, players can run along any line Ghosts chase... MORE

4-3-2 passing with a purpose

in Attack, Footwork and evasion, Rugby drills

I always maintain that passing should be for a reason – even if it is just because there is someone better placed to take the ball forward. This session works on quick passing under pressure with a passing option at the end. By Dan Cottrell The feeder moves forward and passes The defenders target the... MORE

Chain-gang passing

in Attack, Footwork and evasion, Passing & Handling, Rugby drills, U12+

Develop a chain of passes with players running different angles and coming from different depths to challenge defences. By Dan Cottrell ACTIVITY ŒCall which colour cone to run around Three attackers run into the box ŽA feeder waits by the side of the pitch The attackers run around the coloured cone and then readjust to... MORE

Hot river passing

in Footwork and evasion, Mini tag, Rugby coaching, Rugby drills

Encourage players to move and support with this fun movement game. By Dan Cottrell ACTIVITY ŒPairs of players run out to their ball when you shout “hot river” Place the balls so the players have an equal chance of getting to at least two islands ŽThe ball carrier aims to get to island within five... MORE

Deception evasion games

in Footwork and evasion, Small-sided games

Use adaptive games to create deception. Players trick their opponents to score points. By Dan Cottrell GAME 1: STARBURST The defenders spread out, no nearer than 5m from the attackers Four attackers stand in the middle with a ball When the attackers ”burst” they aim to score over any line without the ball carrier being touched... MORE

Reaction squares for space

in Attack, Footwork and evasion, Rugby drills

Use “reaction squares” to get players moving into space with the ball in their hands. This is a fun activity and elements can be part of the warm-up to other sessions. By Dan Cottrell ACTIVITY Five players run around the edge of the 10m square When you shout go, the players run into gather a... MORE

Rocket launchers

in Footwork and evasion, Mini tag, Rugby drills

Get your players to be aware of the space to attack, so run forward, while their support players aim to keep connected. The ball carrier may even pass before being tagged. By Dan Cottrell Put rockets on each coloured cone Start three attacking rockets with a ball Count down from 3 to launch attacking rockets... MORE

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