Long, short or contact: Options for forwards in attack

A forward receiving the ball in midfield has three options: he passes out to the backs, he passes short to a forward or he goes into contact. Use this drill to help the big guys choose and execute efficiently.

Develop forwards’ passing options so they can pass short or release the backs when carrying in midfield.

  1. A feeder passes to a forward who has a support player inside or outside him and a back running wide.
  2. With two ruck pads coming forward, the receiver reacts in one of three ways: ONE He passes behind the support player to the back. TWO He passes short. THREE He takes contact.

To start with, you can tell him which one to do.

  1. Next, try a game scenario in a 25m square.
  2. Two forwards each drive into a ruck pad.
  3. A 9 waits by a tackle tube along with two more pad holders further out.

  1. The forwards run around to be in position to take a pass.
  2. In the meantime, a back gets into position to take a wide pass from one of the forwards.
  3. The 9 feeds one of the forwards, who are put under pressure by the two pad holders.
  4. The receiver decides which of the three options discussed to take.


  • Take ball close to gain line, but don’t run onto it too fast.
  • The forward support player should change his angle before taking the ball.
  • The back must lie deep and be sympathetic to the length of the forward’s pass.
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