Gather and go

Picking up the ball under pressure

The ball is on the ground plenty of times in a match, but rarely is the pick up practised under extreme pressure. To be successful at this game players will need to change their body shapes, so as to gather the ball from the ground more effectively.

Set up

Players: 4 v 4.
Area: 20m square.
Equipment: One ball.

Game notes

  • Play with touch tackling below the waist. The tackler cannot then move until the ball is touched by another player from either team.
  • The ball can be rolled in any direction.
  • Any ball can be contested for on the ground. If two players wrestle for the ball, they have five seconds to win the contest or the ball is turned over to the team not originally in possession of the ball.
  • Any infringement means a restart, with the ball rolled to the non-infringing side.


  • 1 point for a try.

48 key

Gather and go-1

Start by rolling the ball into the box. The players pick up and run to score at the other end.


Gather and go-2

The ball can only be passed if it touches the ground before reaching the receiver.


Gather and go-3

What to call out

  • “Bend at the knees and hips, not the back”
  • “Step over the ball”
  • “Fingers pointing down and scoop”

Coaching notes

  • Change the game so the ball can only be rolled backwards or sideways. This creates a more match like situation and leads to more turnovers.
  • Better teams will find more ingenious ways to “roll” the ball, for instance by bouncing it or just using a “pick and go” technique.
Share this
Follow us