Rugby drill and coaching tips for a pullback pass

The pullback pass

The pullback pass is about passing the ball back at about a 45 degree angle to a support player, coming from deep and able to run onto the ball at pace.

Rugby drill to practise a pullback pass

Four players start about five metres from a line of four cones. They run forward and pass the ball down the line, so that the last player scores on his cone.

Rugby drill to practise pullback passing, which aims to give support runners space

The catch is that they are only allowed to pass when they reach their cone. The pass must be pulled back to the next player running at pace.

He has to be able to take the pass with enough time to slow down and pullback the next pass.

Put this drill into a game situation

Four attackers line up opposite three defenders, so that the last attacker is free. (You can add a second line of three defenders as the players improve.)

As the attackers move, the defenders move forward as a line, slowly at first, then at increasing pace as the players progress.

Don’t allow tackling, but let defenders knock down passes if a ball carrier gets too close. The players have to pullback their passes until the last player is put into space.

Pullback skills being practised with defenders added in to the mix
Rugby coaching skills checklist for pullback pass

  • Support players must come from deep.
  • Support players need to communicate with the ball carrier.
  • Support players must receive their passes at pace.
  • Players must attack their cone or the defender convincingly.
  • Players must look where they are passing.
  • Players should slow down after receiving a pass, so they can get balanced to give the next pass.
  • Passes need to be accurate and delivered with soft hands.

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Click the link for rugby coaching tips to help players’ pop passes.

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