Rugby: Building The Loop

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Mokie, Rugby Coach


Tell your players the following.....

  1. One group of 4 players will be in defence.
  2. The other two groups of 4 will be in attack, they will attack one group at a time.
  3. There will be two attackerss and two defenders in the first two channels, the third channel will be open and free of attackers and defenders.
  4. The fourth channel will have an attacker and defender, the fifth channel will be free of attackers and defenders, the sixth channel will have an attacker and defender, and the last channel will be free of attackers or defenders.
  5. Defenders can move forward and side to side within their own channel, but they cannot leave their channel.
  6. Attackers attack their own channels, but can call a loop (L1,L2,L3 etc.) in order to attack the open channels.
  • Allow players to discover solutions, question - try not to tell.
  • Change the defenders.


Don't feel that you have to focus on all of the following coaching points, you may have your own. Select the points that most closely match your overall training and session goals.

  • Keep the tempo of this exercise high, but only after the players have been able to succeed at a lower tempo. There is no point in moving fast and making too many mistakes as a result of pushing players too quickly.
  • Good communication is vital to define roles, position, expectations, direction of the pass, the type of the pass, the timing of the pass etc.
  • Communication should be efficient, effective, and encouraging.
  • Mistakes will happen, while we work to minimize mistakes - don't over focus on them! If you do, your players may well magnify their own mistakes. What's important is the next pass, the next catch! You as a coach have to give the players the freedom to make mistakes, you also have the responsibility for helping players adjust their passing style and decision making etc.
  • Passes need to be weighted correctly in terms of speed, distance, and accuracy.
  • Receivers have their hands out.
  • Players do not spin the ball when there is no need.
  • Players use soft hands to move the ball quickly. Passing, not firing the ball.
  • It is only a good pass when it has been completed, and it is only a completed pass when the receiver catches the ball.
  • The ball should be caught in both hands, at a position that is best suited to move the ball on quickly.
  • Set targets for your payers, but make sure that targets can be achieved.
  • It is vitally important that players experience success and feel a sense of achievement at every session.
  • The (L) should be called early, good communication should be at the heart of the attack.
  • The running line of the looping player should be as efficient as possible, taking into account the progress of the attack.
  • The looping player should run tight to the ball carrier they will be receiving the ball from, and attacking the open space.
  • The looping player should let the ball carrier know their: position, more about the timing of the pass etc.
  • The looping player may decide to pass the ball out, attack, or switch the ball to change the point of attack.
  • The attack should experiment with with the ability to cancel the loop, the line needs to realign.
  • Defenders should work to close the space between the defensive line and the attack, the line speed should be equalized across the line, and defenders should apply the pressure allowable by you the coach e.g. touch or contact.
  • Have fun, and allow players to experiment.


Change the location of the defenders, and the location of open channels. Also - allow attacks to experiment in order to attack open channels e.g. could they use a switch pass?



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