Rugby: Bag Slams | Contact Conditioning Circuit Exercise 2

Sportplan rugby has played a large role in my team's love for the...
Heather, Rugby Coach


This is the second exercise in a series of three that can be put together to form a contact conditioning circuit. The circuit can be sets of 30 seconds of hard work followed by 30 seconds of rest. Swap in this circuit for your usual fitness routine to give the players something a bit more interesting and transferable to a game. 

Alternatively, this would be a great exercise to include as part of a warm up.

  • Players work individually, picking up a tackle sausage and driving it into the ground. 

  • Repeat for the whole 30 seconds.

This exercise will develop your players core strength, which is immensely important in most areas of the game.

Moreover, this exercise simulates how players will have to maintain power in a game. For example when going from making a tackle to then contesting the ruck.

0.40 - What is the purpose of these conditioning circuits? 


  • Encourage players to work hard and to try and maintain the same intensity throughout the 30 seconds of work.
  • Players should bend their knees when picking up the bag. 



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Flip It

Be brief when telling the players the laws of this game, it's important to get them moving quickly. This is not a contact game. Break your players into two teams, giving each team their own colour of bibs if necessary. One team goes to attack, and one to defence. Nominate a Scrum Half for each team. There is no kicking in this game. Normal laws of rugby apply e.g. a forward pass will result in the ball being turned over to the opposition. If an attacking player is touched: they must go to ground, present the ball, two of their teammates ruck over (staying over the ball), and the Scrum Half moves the ball for the next phase of attack. When you start playing this game make sure that the defence is employing your defensive pattern around the ruck. As the game develops consider telling the defenders that they must have one or more players at the back of the ruck, if they are not fast enough to do this - push them back 10 meters. It’s important that defenders are employing their defensive pattern behind the primary defensive line. Have attacking players do what they normally would at the ruck. Depending on your goals decide on the number of touches you wish to allow e.g. unlimited is not a bad option as mistakes will be made! When you feel the time is appropriate, usually during a ruck, blow you whistle and should FLIP IT – kicking in or throwing in a second ball to the back 3/2 defenders on the team currently in defence OR just kick it behind the defenders. The defensive team goes, without hesitation, into attack. The team that was attacking goes into defence and you or an assistant coach remove the other ball from play when you can. Ideally you might have two balls with different markings. Don't hesitate to shape the game to focus on your session goals, and let us and other coaches know what worked for you!

Warm Up


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