Rugby drills to prepare the back line

Use the following rugby coaching drills and tips to work on moves for your back line. Ignore the gentle handling moves up and down the pitch and cut straight to the pressure situations your team will face. A key rugby coaching tip is knowing when to turn up the pressure.

Rugby drill set up

  • Set up four attackers versus three defenders, with either you or a scrum half feeding the ball.

  • The distances apart dictate the pressure, as do the conditions you put on the defence.

  • To start with, the defence should be further back than for a normal game situation, and the three defenders should not be allowed to drift out once the ball has been passed.

  • So in the first five minutes you are working on handling, running lines, communication and defence systems.

  • Make sure you mix the first receiver around, but have your fly half or inside centre there more often than not.

Two second phase top moves

Once you have worked through the simple handling rugby drills, it is time to have a couple of set moves that can be set and run quickly off second phase ball, that is from a ruck or maul. Again introduce and practise these rugby skills with a 4 v 3 line, varying which one you use.

  • Miss-pass – Either the first or second receiver passes the ball in front of the player next to them to another player further away. Always ensure that the “missed” player looks like he is going to receive the ball, and the passer passes the ball further in front of the receiver than for a shorter pass.

  • Switch (or wrap switch) – Switch passes, where the ball carrier and receiver change the direction of the play, can create holes in the defence and prevent drift defences being so effective. A wrap switch move has the receiver turning immediately he receives the ball, and going through the space left by the run of the original ball carrier.

Two killer moves

With maybe half the time left, you should spend no more than ten minutes perfecting two "killer" moves from first phase. These are backline moves which you believe your backs will score from.

The main rugby coaching tip should be what will work for the skill set in front of you, rather than what has worked well in the past.

Passing ability, speed and the gamebreaking runner should be considered before working out what to use.

Backline defence

With such a short time available, two defensive issues need to be discussed.

  • The midfield three (10, 12 and 13) need to decide on their spacing, line speed and direction when defending in different parts of the pitch. If I have the backline with me, then I will use the wingers, full back and scrum half as a backline to test the defence of the 10, 12 and 13.

  • You need to work out whether the winger is going to stay wide or defend next to the outside centre.

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Click here for rugby coaching tips on back line alignments.

Rugby coaching tips


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