EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Angle busters

If a player can attack the ball at an angle the defence is not expecting, there’s a better chance of breaking the defensive line. Here’s how it works and how to practise it.

JARGON TO REALITY

You may have heard of terms like “ins and outs” or “unders and overs”. These are simply referring to angled runs onto the ball. They can be used as part of a set move or just run off-the-cuff from ruck or maul ball. You can take this play up a level by helping your players realise how and when to execute these plays.

A DIFFERENT CATCH AND PASS FOR EACH ANGLE

Angling in

A run that cuts back towards the passer needs the catcher to take the pass onto their chest

There are two reasons for this: 

1. The chest is facing the pass, so it will naturally go into this area. 

2. Because the catcher might be taking a tackle at the same time or the defence is close to the pass, any reach for the ball exposes the catcher. They need to gather without stretching for the ball.

The pass itself can be quite firm, but ideally isn’t a spin pass. A push pass should turn the ball so it’s pointy ends are facing towards the ground and sky. That’s a much easier to take when running into the ball.

Angling out

Here, the receiver runs in and then out. Since the run is away from the pass, the pass will be in front of the attacker. Also the pass has to be hard and probably can be a spin pass.

Timing the run

Where you can really add value as a coach is to develop activities where players time their angles onto the ball in chaotic situations.

LATE ANGLES

To make an angle work, it has to surprise the defence.

1. Change of pace

The player can jog one way and then change as they accelerate a different way.

2. Out of sight

For an angle in, the player can start very wide and come towards the play. If they are flat enough, the passer can choose to hit this play or go behind them.

If the player comes from far enough away and to the side, the defender, who’s looking in as well, won’t see them up until quite late. They will be focused on the attacker in front of them instead.


INSIDE SHOULDERS GAME

Play normal touch rugby. When a player is touched, they can pass within one second or go to ground.

A touch can only be made with one hand, which is the “outside shoulder arm”. See how below.

When a tackled player who can’t pass immediately goes to ground, another attacker has to run over the ball before it can be played. 

If the ball is passed to the right from the ground, the defenders can only use their left hand to make a touch. If it’s passed left from the tackle, then it’s the other hand. That remains the same until there’s another tackle and a player goes to ground.

POSSIBLE OUTCOMES

  • Defenders will be weak on the inside, because they cannot use their inside arm/hand to make a touch.
  • Defenders will overcompensate and stay too far inside their opposite attacker. 
  • Either way, an angled run is likely to break the line.
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