Rugby footwork drill for a good step into contact

What you tell your players the drill is about

  • Improving your ability to break through defenders.
  • Improving your continuity options in the attack.
  • Improving your effectiveness in contact.

What you tell your players to do

  • Be purposeful in their movement forward.
  • Use shoulder, hip and thigh to make contact with the pad.
  • At the contact point take a big step to make a firm base and keep strong.

What you get your players to do in the drill

  • Split your squad into four defenders with contact shields, with the rest working as attackers.
  • Position the defenders evenly on each side of the box.
  • Each attacking player has to make his way through the area, taking a big step into each defender and knocking them back.
  • The defenders can step towards the attacker as though moving into tackle.

The big step

rugby big step drill to get younger players using a good step into contact

Defenders move in to the attacker, who steps into each pad in turn.

What to call out

  • "Attack the defender."
  • "The last step is a big step."
  • "Feel the air being knocked out of the pad."
  • "Step past the pad."
  • "Be aggressive."

Develop the drill

  • Add a support player who takes the pass after the defender is knocked out the way. This player takes it onto the next defender.
  • Add more defenders and attackers so it becomes more like a game. 

Add support players

Rugby drill development where more attackers are added for support players

Include more attackers to act as support players to develop the offload and create the continuity.

Game situation

  • Play on a pitch about 20 metres wide, so there is little space to go through and plenty of contact.
  • Split into six attackers and six defenders.
  • If you have contact shields use these to start. If not, condition tackling to be a grab, rather than a full-on tackle. By doing this, the players will be able to break through the defence and off load to supporting players.
  • Tries have to be scored in the corners.

6v6 step and offload

Putting the big step rugby drill into a game situation

Once the attackers break through, get them to finish off by scoring in the corners.

What to think about in the drill

  • Are the players balanced and powerful at contact, or when making contact do they lose power and at times fall down?

    The players have to make sure their final step before contact is big and the lead foot is placed beyond the defender. This will make them more powerful and strong.

  • Are players holding the ball in the lead shoulder?

    The ball can be vulnerable if held in the lead shoulder, therefore get the players to practise moving the ball from shoulder to shoulder, while on the run.

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