Rugby: Touch The Runner

Your tips and session ideas have really brought some interest back...
Eifion, Rugby Coach


  • Put a group of 7 inside inside one of your grids. Tell them the following laws: The player not wearing a bib (the runner) is trying stay away from the ball - because if you touch that player with the ball they have to do 10 press-ups etc. (amend depending of players age etc.).
  • Give one of the 3 man teams the ball; the hunters, it's their job to pass the ball to each other hunting the runner, trying to touch the runner with the ball. The other team of three is there to try and intercept the ball as it is passed between the hunters (they are interceptors).
  • Ball carriers can run with the ball.
  • The ball cannot be thrown at the runner.
  • Passes can be in any direction.
  • If the ball is intercepted by the other team, they now hunt the runner and the opposing team has to try and intercept the ball to get it back.
  • Don't forget to change the runner by swapping them with a member of of the two teams in the grid. If a team has been good at keeping the ball, swap the ball over when you feel the time is right.
  • If the ball is dropped or a pass goes outside the grid, it's turned over to the other team who then become the hunters.
  • The team trying to intercept cannot push or have any contact with the hunters (ball carriers).
  • Law Change: After a little time you can change the law to: the ball carrier cannot move with the ball or the ball carrier only take 2/3 steps upon catching the ball.


Don't feel that you have to focus on all of the following coaching points. Select the points that apply to your session, or come up with your own.

  • Players looking to catch the ball should have their hands out.
  • We should see evidence of teamwork within the hunting and intercepting teams.
  • Communication should be: efficient, effective, encouraging, and predictive (not just what we should do now - what we should do next).
  • Players should carry the ball in both hands.
  • Passing should be to players who are unmarked or into space.
  • Can ball carriers attact more than one Interceptor?
  • The runner scans the playing area for threats and evades them using changes in foot speed and sidestepping.
  • Interceptors should identify the hunter players they have responsibility for marking, possibly deciding on marking zones rather than players.
  • Interceptors track their targets.
  • All players should use peripheral vision to help scan the playing area, and react to what they see and hear.
  • Can players identify and use predictors to hunt, avoid contact, or intercept? Based on what they see are there any clues that might help them predict what might happen next in the game e.g. the ball carrier lowers the ball to get ready for a pass, which direction is the ball and the carrier pointing - who is likely to be the target of the pass?
  • Are passes weighted correctly in terms of speed, direction, and distance.


Tag Rugby Variation: Give the runner a set of tags, the hunters not only have to keep the ball away from the interceptors. They also have to hunt the runner and remove both tags.

Pressure Ball | Warm Up

Pressure Ball:

Make sure your warm-up area is marked out before the players arrive.

  • Depending on the number of players you have at training, mark out several warm-up grids.
  • The size of your grid is a suggestion, but around 10 meters x 10 meters. The bigger the grid, the easier it is for the attackers - they have more space. The smaller the grid, the easier it is for the defenders. Break your players into two groups, pads and passers.
  • One third of your players will be passers; the rest will be on the pads.
  • Have one team quickly demonstrate the game to the other players. In each grid have four players on pads, and two passers. You could have more passers; I'll leave this to your judgment.
  • The job of the players on the pads is to put pressure on the ball carrier, to surround them and stop them from passing the ball. The players on the pads are also trying to force the passers to make mistakes e.g. drop the ball, throw a bad pass etc.
  • The passers have to move the ball around the grid, avoiding the pads.
  • Passers can pass the ball in any direction.
  • Players on the pads should have a little fun, and within reason push the passers around a little.
  • You can award points for each successful pass, and points to the defending team on the pads for every occasion when a ball carrier is surrounded or the ball carriers make a mistake.
  • Don't forget to change the players around, and to give players on the pads a go at passing the ball under pressure.
  • Law Variations: You could insist that passers have only 3 second to make their pass, or risk losing a point to the defending team.

Warm Up



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