EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Best space attack game

Here’s a game I’ve been using in training around decision making at the breakdown in defence and attacking the best space when in possession. It is best delivered over a six to eight week block to embed the learning in both attack and defence.

SESSION FOCUS

Enhance players’ awareness (scanning ability) and decision-making around how to attack the best space (between, outside or behind defenders).

GAME RULES

  1. Split into an “attack” team and “defence” team, with at least one more attacker than the defence.
  2. Start as a blocked attack, which means the attack restart every time with the ball, even if they lose possession.
  3. Once the teams are more comfortable with the bib rules (see below), progress to giving the defence three phases to score if they turn over the ball.
  4. Play 2 x four-minute sets in attack then swap.
  5. Use the break for feedback.
  6. Make use of different start points to give players different pictures, like from the side of the pitch, middle, from a kick.
  7. Put the defence in bibs (for example, five blue bibs and two red bibs) and they must have one player in the backfield.

TOUCH RULES

  • Blue bibs: Ball carrier down and present.
  • One defender who makes touch drops to a knee or their chest.
  • Red bibs: Attack can instantly offload as they go to the ground.

PROGRESSION ONE: CONTACT

  1. Play full contact.
  2. Now have a 1 v 1 contest at the breakdown (which can progress to 2 v 2 if needed) and the defence get three phases to score on transition.

  • Blue bibs: Tackle (no jackal)
  • Red bibs: Tackle and jackal
  • This challenge players decision-making at the breakdown in both defence and attack)

A jackal means a player can challenge for the ball at the tackle.

PROGRESSION TWO: TRANSITION

  1. Add channels at the side of your pitch. For example, on a 50m wide pitch, the channels would be 10m each from the side of the pitch.
  2. Turnover: The defence forces three phases in a row in the middle of the pitch.
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