VIDEO: Snap back ruck game

Use a touch game to work on good ball placement skills and support play at the breakdown. Watch the clip first.

The game

  • Play two-handed touch rugby.
  • Overload one team for five attacks.
  • When touched the ball carrier has to go to ground and perform the skill. The skill is a “score a try and snap back” ball placement.
  • The next attacker has to get their chin over the ball. The ball is then passed away by the next attacker.
  • An attack ends after a try, an infringement or an incorrect ball placement and support role.

The skill

  • The ball carrier, once touched, goes to ground as if they are scoring a try. This promotes go-forward.
  • They land on the ball and then “snap back” the ball towards their team by turning at the hips.
  • The supporting player aims to go low and get their chin over the ball. Where the chin goes, the rest of the body follows.
  • Note in the clip, one or two players put one hand down as they fall. You could penalise this.

Coaching the game

  • Only bring in two new rules at the start of this game. The boys had been playing touch rugby already.
  • Let the players demonstrate the skill. If they did it incorrectly, you can make some small adjustments.
  • If they aren’t exact now, you can let them play “imperfectly” for five minutes. Then you can increase the pressure to be much better, and penalise it harder. It depends on the stage of player development. For representative players, your level of forgiveness might be tougher.
  • Start the game quickly. I use a countdown.
  • Throw in some praise, but only sometimes.
  • Listen to the noise from the boys, and then listen out for any coach intervention…what do you hear?

Developing the game

Where would you take the game from here? Some ideas:

  • More contact – grab tackles
  • One defender has to go to ground.
  • One defender can compete for the ball.
  • Wider pitch.
  • Even numbers.

Many thanks to the Cleve RFC coaching group for helping these positive youngsters, and in particular to Jeff for the opportunity to work with the team. 

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