Rugby: Open Channel

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Mokie, Rugby Coach


  • Give each training area one ball and tell the players the following......
  1. Lets just get the ball moving down the line. Give the player at the start of one of the lines a ball, tell the line to advnce using laterial passing - with the last player in each line passing the ball to the first player in the opposite line. This should include all of the players, including the players that will be working in defence.
  2. After some time (your call on how long this should be). Tell the players that.......
  3. You will have three defenders, 10 meters back from the attack.
  4. The attack will start by laying on the ground facing the opposite direction.
  5. The defence will leave one channel open, they should vary this each time.
  6. The attack should get to their feet when the defence says ATTACK (this give the defence a chance to get ready).
  7. The attack should move the ball to the open channel, attacking that channel with more that one player - if possible.
  8. The defence can defend their own channel, they can move forward and back, and side to side - but they cannot enter the channel they initally left open.
  9. Players should change positions in the line following each attack.
  10. Change the defenders after some time.


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.

    • Players should work to keep the tempo of the session high.
    • Receivers hands should be out, presenting a target.
    • Ball carriers carry the ball in two hands.
    • The pass is weighted in terms of distance, speed, and accuracy.
    • The pass is only complete when caught.
    • Players do not spin the ball over short distances and their pass should be sympathetic to the receiver.
    • Ball carriers pass to where the receiver is going to be, not where they are.
    • Ball carriers provide a flat ball or a ball that the receiver can run onto.
    • The receiver attacks at pace, receiving the ball while moving forward at pace.
    • Players demonstrate good communication . Communication should be efficient, effective, and encouraging. Receivers should identify themselves, their location etc. Ball carriers should verbally seek out support.
    • Mistakes will be made, allow your players the freedom to make mistakes without feeling a failure.
    • Passing should be off both hands. There is no weak or strong hand, just hands that need a little more work. Work is the key, not talent. You can do this by starting the ball at the opposite end of the attacking line.
    • Attackers scan for the open channel and attack that channel at pace.
    • Attacker move the ball to the open channel using varied passes a.g. Miss Pass. They should also be creative with respect to their attack.
    • The defence should press-up keeping the line, but moving at a high line speed. They should work close the attack down within the restrictions placed on them.
    • Both the attack and the defence should communicate, communication should be efficent, effective, and encouraging.



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