Rugby: Denfence Down

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  • 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 defense.
  • 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 pass the ball right away, the type of touch were playing is based on one touch off-load, but you can use any touch variation that works best with respect to your training goals.
  • When the coach shouts DEFENCE DOWN - every defensive player must do 1/2/3 press ups (you choose the number).
  • The attack can continue while the defence is down.
  • When you start playing this game make sure that the defense is employing your defensive pattern.
  • If the defence infringes with respect to the law or they are not fast enough to get onside - push them back 10 meters.
  • 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 there is a mistake - turn the ball over.
  • Don't hesitate to shape the game to focus on your session goals, and let us and other coaches know what worked for you!


This is not an exhaustive list of coaching points, but you may decide to focus on some of the following coaching points, depending on your session goals:

  • Good communication among defenders and attackers. It must be encouraging, meaningful, efficient, and effective.
  • Defenders should employ the teams defensive pattern taking into account the limitations of this game e.g. no kicking.
  • Line speed with respect to the defense.
  • Is the attacking team being creative e.g. running any preset backs moves? Why not? Or are they just attacking down the line?
  • Attacking players carry or quickly move the ball to two hands to promote effective passing.
  • Passes are correctly weighted in terms of speed, distance, and accuracy.
  • Spin passes are not used over short distances.
  • Attacking players take full advantage of attacking the defence when they are down, they do so at pace.
  • Call defence down when the attack is deep - forcing the attack to move at pace to take advantage of the space.
  • Is the defence quick to get to their feet following a defence down call, they need to be. They should push up with their hands, bring their feet off the ground to promote a dynamic standing position. They should not use their knees.
  • Attackers scan the attack, searching for space and move the ball to that space.
  • Don't put the defence down for too long, they must be able to compete.



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3 Touch Kick

Split your players into two teams, giving one group of players a set of coloured bibs to set them apart, and quickly tell your players the following laws: We will be playing a rugby league style touch. When touched: set the ball down, stand over the ball, allow the scum-half to move the ball away from the point of contact. The defenders should stay on side following a touch, and should not compete for the ball. Any infringements in defence should result in the defending team conceding 10 Meters or possibly giving 1 or more extra touches to the attacking team. I'll leave this to your judgement depending on your team's age, skill level, and your session target/s. The attacking team can sustain three touches before they have to kick. Their kick should be as it would be in the game: a kick to touch, a kick for territory, or a kick that can be regained e.g. a grubber kick. The defenders should behave as they would in a real game. Quick put in's from the touchlines replace lineouts. Defenders who take the ball from an attacking kick should counter attack. A forth touch results in a turn over. The Scrum Half has a maxium of 5 seconds to move the ball from the point of touch. A ball kicked directly to touch from outside the attacking teams 22, or where the ball has been taken into the 22 by the attacking team and then kicked into touch - will result in a turn over with play starting on the five meter line closest to where the kick was made. The defence should be 10 meters back. A ball kicked from inside the attacking teams 22 can go directly to touch, as long as the attacking team did not carry the ball into their own 22 before the kick. The resulting put in will be to the opposition from where the ball has went into touch. Quick put-in's are enoucraged, if not possible the ball is played from the 5 meter line with the defence 10 meters back. Give points for quick put ins that work. Feel free to play with any of noted laws, let us know the law variations that work for you!

Warm Up


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