2 v 1 in tight and wide situations

From Rugby Coach Weekly

Get your players working on 2 v 1s in tight and wide situations. In all cases the ball carrier needs to attack the inside shoulder of the defender. However, the different widths of the channels make the style of pass different. A good session for both backs and forwards working together.2 v 1 in tight and wide situations

Tell your players the purpose of this session is…

  • Developing simple 2 v 1 skills.
  • Working on passing and communication.

What you tell your players to do…

  • Ball carrier: Attack the defender hard, don’t take up the supporting player’s space.
  • Supporting player: Find the space, accelerate onto the pass.

What you get your players to do…

Put two players 5m behind a feeder on the middle line. Put a defender 5m in front of the feeder. Show which channel the ball carrier must attack and release the attackers and defender. The defender has to touch the ball carrier with two hands or intercept.


What to call out…

“Ball carrier: Keep straight and have two hands on the ball”

“Support player: Put space between you and the ball carrier”

“Don’t be afraid to dummy, or even dummy and then pass, to keep the defender engaged”


Put three attackers at one corner of a 15m square. Put a defender on the same edge about 5m away. The ball is fed to the first two attackers who aim to beat the defender in the narrow channel. If this defender is beaten, then the attackers can use the wide channel to beat the second defender (see picture 3). Use scrag tackling or full tackling.

Game situation…

Put a defender in the middle of the box and one on the corner. Put three attackers at the other end. They attack into the box, having to beat both defenders without the ball carrier being touched.

Things to think about…

A 2 v 1 is not as straightforward as many coaches make out. Defenders don’t always do what they are told in a match so attackers need to practise lots of different situations.

Rugby league players make this skill look easy because they practise it relentlessly. You should do the same and have a variety of exercises ready to use. Make sure that the defenders either “tackle” or “intercept” which means the ball carrier always has the option to dummy.

If you’d like more sessions like this why not subscribe to Rugby Coach Weekly, for skills, sessions and coaching advice delivered direct to your inbox every week.

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