Behind the Lines

The Rules

Divide the players into teams of five attackers and six defenders. Space pairs of defenders equally along the playing area. The defenders can only move sideways to make tackles.

The attackers have a ball. They use passing (backwards only) and running skills to score. If the player with the ball is tackled, they call out “I’M HIT” and pass the ball away within 3 seconds.

Give the attack three goes to score. Each attempt ends if the ball carrier doesn’t call “I’M HIT”, or pass the ball away within 3 seconds of the tackle, or a pass goes forward or to ground, or the ball carrier steps out of play.

Set Up

Area: 20m long x 5m wide.
Equipment: 1 ball, bibs (if available), tag belts (if used).
Players: 11-5 attackers and 6 defenders.


  • 1 point to the attack for a try.
  • 1 point to the defence for preventing a try.

What to Call Out

  • “Look for space and move into it”
  • “Beat the defender”
  • “Support the player with the ball”
  • “Run forward”
  • “Pass sideways or backwards”

Coaching Tips

The “I’M HIT” call is to encourage the other attackers to move closer for the pass.

Try these variations also. 1) Change the shape of the playing area to an hour glass. 2) Start the defenders at the sides. 3) Hold back two of the attackers so they support from deep and at pace.


Fun mini rugby games for 5 to 8 year olds

Behind the lines - part 1

Five attackers face two defenders on each line.

Behind the lines - part 2

The defenders can only move sideways to tackle the ball carrier.

Behind the lines - part 3

Tackled players must shout “I’M HIT!” and pass backwards within 3 seconds.

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