Rugby: Contact Pop Pass Contact

Great site and excellent drills. Easy to understand and apply in training....
Tyrone, Rugby Coach


  • Ball carrier goes forward, hitting in on the shield, turning to pop the call to a support player who passes the ball across the grid into the second channel for the first player in the opposite channel to take and advance on the the shield in their channel.
  • They hit in on the shield, turning to pop the ball to a support player who then passes the ball to the next receiver in the first channel.
  • Keep going, but don't forget to change the players on the tackle shields.


You don't need to focus on all of the following coaching points, pick the points that are most suited to your own training goals. You can add your own coaching points.

  • Keep the tempo of this exercise high.
  • Players communicate with one another using the three E's. Efficient, effective, and encouraging.
  • Pops are well weighted for the support runners, there are no spins.
  • Passes are weighted correctly in terms of speed, distance, and position.
  • Passes are to where the player will be, not to where they are.
  • The hit on the shield is: low, forceful, the ball is protected against the contact and moved to the hip, the player moves through the contact positioning their body for the pop.
  • If mistakes are made, players focus on: the next hit, the next pop, the next pass.
  • The coach takes responsibility for helping players to improve, players do not beat themselves up about mistakes.


You can tell the player to go to ground and then pop and pass the ball up - this must be done immediately after going to ground.



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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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