Get a grip on grubber kicks

By Colin Ireland, experienced coach educator, and Scottish Rugby Union coach development consultant

Often done in the wrong situation or rarely tried at younger age groups, the grubber kick to run on to and regather is a fantastic attacking weapon. The ideal time is when your team is faced by an organised rush defence or in tight situations close to the touchline (see picture 1).

Get a grip on grubber kicks

Set up

A 15m square, several balls, cones.

What you get your players to do

Split players into pairs – one kicker and one chaser – with one ball.

1. The kicker takes a pass on the run and grubbers the ball between two cones and into a gathering zone. To begin with it will help if time is spent on the kicker only so he can perfect the kick (see picture 2).

2. A feeder passes the ball to the kicker who grubbers as before into a gathering zone but this time the chasing player runs forward to gathers the ball (see picture 3).


The kicker getting the ball from hand to foot quickly.

An accurate kick so the ball goes where it is meant to.

The weight of kick just right for the chaser to gather.

The ball is grubbered so it runs end over end and has a good chance of bouncing up into the chaser’s hands. The chaser stays just behind the kicker as he strikes the ball but is moving forward as the ball is struck.


If the ball is kicked into the zone, instead of gathering it, ask the chaser to dive on the ball to score.


Like many skills in rugby, some players will be better than others but it’s important that all your backs are competent and understand when and where to perform the grubber kick.

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