EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

The family of the ball

Back in the 70s and 80s, French coaches coined the phrase: “The family of the ball”.

It helps support players under their roles in relation to the ball. In simple terms, we can identify four roles.

Late support: source of the ball, probably a ruck or scrum. Next play, not this.
Close support: a good chance of receiving a pass in this play.
Far support: may receive pass in this play. But ready for pass from next play.
Deep support: may receive in this play, but ready to go either side of the next ruck to be involved in the next play.

These roles change as the ball moves from player to player.

By knowing your role, you can reposition yourself more efficiently.

For example, late support might stay roughly where they are, because the ball might passed back this way next time. Deep support might run towards the far support. far support might get wider, or closer.


In summary, we have learned so far that to maintain possession and continue to go forward, the ball carrier needs to interact with their support players. Support players actions are dictated by their relationship to the ball carrier.

That’s the end of the lesson on ways to support. In the next lesson, we will look at the skills needed.

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