The grubber is most effective when executed on the move. By running forwards the ball carrier attracts defenders. The ball is then kicked along the ground between two of them.
- The ball is dropped from waist height onto the foot.
- The top of the foot or the instep is used to kick the ball.
- Crucially, the kicker and support players have to chase the ball, as this determines whether or not the kick works.
Control the weight
The distance that the ball is kicked is very important. It needs to be behind the front line of the defence, but not so deep that any sweeping defenders can get to it.
Practising the grubber
Use a practice where the kicker receives a pass, moves forward and grubber kicks the ball between two tackle pads. He must weight the kick so it stops in a box you nominate.
Encourage the kicker always to chase his kick and recover the ball without knocking it on.
As the players improve:
- Replace the bags with controlled defenders moving forwards slowly.
- Add defenders and support players in attack.
- Increase the pressure the defenders are allowed to put on the kicker.
Allow the defenders to turn and compete for the ball after the kick.
A grubber game
You can embed the skills further in a match-like scenario:
- Play 5 v 5, where any of the attackers have the option of kicking a grubber.
- The game is full contact, but stops the moment an attack fails.
- The attacking team can pass and run as well as kick, but if a ruck forms the attack is over.
- The defenders have to keep their line. They can't drop a defender back to cover the kick.
As the players improve further, reduce the number of attackers, so they face an overloaded defence. See if they can now still kick and recover the ball.
You can also play the game in a larger area and allow the defence to drop a player back. The kick then has to be better thought out and more accurate.
This article is taken from the Better Rugby Coaching e-newsletter. Click here to sign up and get free rugby drills and skills twice a week.