Rugby: Pass and Support

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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.
  2. After some time (your call on how long this should be). Tell the players that, with the exception of the first player in each line, every reciever will not be able to pass the ball until touched on the shoulder by the player that passed them the ball.
  3. Every passer must follow their pass, touching the reciever on the shoulder to release the next pass.
  4. After the supporting player has made their touch, and the ball has been passed, they should return to their original channel.
  5. Players should change positions in the line following each attack.


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.
  • Passers run in support of their pass, this will be important to provide the ball carrier with options. The passers job is not finished when they make a pass.
  • Ball carriers don't release the ball until touched.
  • Players that have gone in support realign after their supporting roll is complete. The means that they return to their original channel, retreating to provide them with enough depth for the next phase of attack.
  • Players should understand why a support runner is useful, draw this out by questioning players - not by telling them.
  • Note: This drill is not an end in itself, it needs to be used in conjunction with other drills to build up a form of attack - during which support runners are evident.


You can progress this by having the ball move up and down the line (2 sets of laterial passes in opposite directions).



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