Slow v quick ball plays game training

Here’s how I set up a game to work through some plays which had been designed to help a team run with either quick ball or slow ball from rucks.


Develop a game to test out slow-ball, and quick-ball plays. The decision-makers have to react to real pictures rather than a coach-led scenario.


Play around 9 v 9 on a 40m pitch. Adjust to suit the skills of the players.


  • 9 listens to call from 10. They pass flat to the forwards on “Fire”, and deeper to 10 on “Ice”.
  • The forwards line up so they are at least 5m away from the edge of the ruck. Three forwards are ideal, but two are fine.
  • The ball-carrying forward can make a short pass or try to beat the defender in front of them. If they get tackled, they can offload or go to ground with support. The next supporting player in can “latch” onto the ball carrier, take a pass or protect the player on the ground.
  • 10 calls “ice” when they have quick ball or want to kick.

The team are working on a simple system called Fire and Ice.

Fire: If a ruck is slow from a tackle situation, pass to a group of forwards, ideally three, who is flat on the gain line. They punch up, either offloading through the gap, latching on (that is binding together) or going to ground quickly to produce quick ball.

Ice: If the ball is quick, then the ball is passed out to the 10 to exploit possible mismatches in the back line.


Two-hand touch rugby.  If touched, the ball carrier has two seconds to pass the ball or, if they can’t, they go to ground.

If they go to ground, one attacker must go over the ball before it can be passed. Two defenders must touch the prone player, and can only re-enter the game once the ball has been released from the tackle area.

Encourage defenders to wrap up the ball carrier to slow down the ball.

Turnovers for errors. When a try is scored, swap attack and defence.


Add the “ultra” to make the attackers use plays. It’s a turnover if the first receiver is touched in possession and

1. They haven’t made it to level with the 9 who made the pass.

2. Or they haven’t been latched onto by another attacker.

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