Rugby: Passing to Support

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Heather, Rugby Coach


  • Tell your players the following......
  1. One the call of the scrum half, the 3 attackers turn, round the cone and attack.
  2. The scrum half feeds the ball to the first reciever, players will need to decide who the first reciever is.
  3. The other two players fall in at depth, providing support left and support right.
  4. The support players can expand the space between them and the ball carrier.
  5. As the attack approaches the end of the grid, the coach will point left or right, and the ball must be (without delay) passed to the support player on the side the coach has pointed to.
  6. The attacking unit return to join the line in preperation for the next attacking opportunity, they should pass the ball back to the scrum half.


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.

  • The tempo of this exercise must be high as a skill is only a skills when it can be preformed under pressure, and this exercise applies pressure with each progression.
  • Ball carriers work a speed they are initially comfortable with, building more in more speed and faster decision making as they go - while retaining passing quality.
  • Passes from the the scrum half are from the ground and are weighted correctly in terms of speed, distance, and accuracy. Spin passes are not used when they do not need to be.
  • The scrum half, ball carrier (and his support) uses effective, efficient, and encouraging communication to ensure that they receive the ball when they want it - and to ensure that they have enough time and space to make their pass.
  • Mistakes happen, if we can help players by not having them over-think or get stressed - then we can cut the number of mistakes. Giving players the freedom to make mistakes can actually reduce the number of mistakes and gives players the freedom to enjoy their game and training - while being creative.
  • Receivers present targets and have their hands up, ready to catch.
  • Support runners assume positions to the left and right of the ball carrier.
  • The ball carrier uses a range of passes to move the ball to the support runners.
  • Passes are timed to draw the defence away from the receiver.
  • Ball carriers head must be up and looking to see what is in front of them, they have to react to what they see.
  • Receivers can clap their hands to establish a target.
  • Attackers build their speed, moving the ball through their hands quickly - passing/guiding the ball - not firing it.
  • Support runners come onto the ball at pace.
  • Ball carriers carry the ball is a position that: draws the attention of the defender, allows them the best possible grip for passing, and provides them with the ability to quickly pass the ball with power.
  • The attack must be fast, slowing down only: when they wish to use change in foot speed to beat defenders, and when support needs to catch up.


  • Extend this drill by adding a defender at the midway point in the grid, the defender can only move left to right.
  • Or...Get your players to move at more speed by placing a cone 20 meters away from the last cone in the attacking grid and having a runner on that cone, the attack must score before the runner gets to the attacking grid. Adjust this depending on the speed of your runner and the ability of your players. You might decide to put two/three defenders at the distant cone, in addition to the shield holder in the grid.



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