EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Race to the try line game

Challenge your team’s go forward by seeing who can score a try the fastest. A full contact small-sided game which will add an additional pressure element to create a tactical edge.

ORGANISATION

Set two pitches up side by side. Split your group into four teams, two teams per pitch, on each pitch will be an attacking team and a defending team. If the attacking team lose the ball, they can either stop or start again from their try line.

RULES

On your whistle, both games start with a tap by the attack on their own try line, and the defence 10m back. The games are a race, so the winning team is the team that scores first. If both teams lose the ball, whoever got the furthest wins.

I prefer full contact, but you might use touch tackles.

THE CHALLENGE

Can the players use their leg drive, contact, passing, evasion and kicking skills to go forward as far and as fast as they can?

Because of the size of the pitch and the element of a race against another team next to them, there can be a tendency for the players to “play it safe” by using one out short runners to gain small amounts of distance. So, remind the players that go forward involves any way of getting the ball forward: kicking, passing and running are all options to go forward.

Although going forward slowly is still going forward, there are faster ways of going forward.

DEFENSIVE GO FORWARD

You can flip the game on its head by focusing on defensive go forward.

Consider making the pitches smaller to begin with to make it a little easier for the defence. Once they are confident begin to make the pitches bigger to increase the challenge.

There are a couple of ways you can focus on defence through your rules:

  • The winner is the team who wins the ball back first.
  • The winner is the team who keeps the attacking team furthest away from their try line. Introduce a count down of 10-20 seconds for the games to end and see where the attacking teams get to.

HOW THIS FITS INTO YOUR PLANNING

Prior to this session: Build up to the session will be on various elements of go forward: contact skills (leg drive, ball position, body height, hand off), evasion/running, passing and kicking. For example:

  • Contact skills through small one v ones (see King of the ring)
  • Evasion/running through small-sided games on larger pitches
  • Passing skills through overloaded sided games
  • Kicking skills and kick-chase games

Next session: Following sessions will focus on applying their go forward skills into normal games with more players and larger pitches. You can reward ‘go forward’ through your use of rules, for example:

  • If the attacking team gain ground in contact, the defensive team must retreat a further 2m from the normal offside line.
  • If the attacking player gains ground in contact, the player who tackles them must feed into the widest part of their team’s defensive line, creating a gap near the ball.
  • If the attacking team kick to go forward and by the time the defensive player picks the ball up, the attacking team have three players within 5m of the ball, the attacking team can keep the ball.
  • For a defensive focus, a tackler who goes forward in contact can be rewarded with an instant turnover
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