Rugby: It's All Rip and Roll To Me!

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Wes, Rugby Coach


You may consider these two points when looking to challenge or build confidence.

  • Keep your player briefing, brief! It's best not to have your players standing around listening to you - let them play, let them discover.
  • Split your players into two teams, giving each team their own set of coloured bibs.
  • Normal laws of rugby apply e.g. if you knock the ball on - then it's turned over to the opposition.
  • When touched the ball carrier must turn, a support player will drive onto the ball ripping and rolling or ripping and popping to another attacking player.
  • The defender that made the original touch cannot make a second touch on the player who rips and rolls.
  • The defenders should act as they normally would during a match.
  • If the ball goes into touch, the put-in should be quick. If that can't be the case - the point of the put in becomes the offside line and the defenders must remain behind that line. The ball must go at least 5 meters and can travel straight or backwards.
  • There is no kicking in this game.
  • You decide on a number of touch options e.g. unlimited touches, 4/8 touches, or make it a little more complex with 4 rip and pop touches, and 4 rip and roll touches (this last option forces the team to employ both tactics or lose the ball).
  • Don't be afraid to experiment with different law variations and let us know what worked for you!


You don't have to focus on all of the following coaching points. Pick the points that apply to your upcoming session, or focus on your own bespoke coaching points.

  • Communication should be Efficient (players provide quick instructions and feedback to their teammates), Effective (they say what needs to be done, instead of general comments), Encouraging (they build each up - what's important is the next pass, the next kick, the next tackle).
  • The touched player quickly turns and presents the ball in two hands.
  • Decisions are made quickly. There is no problem with making mistakes - there is a problem with not making decisions! Encourage your players to make decisions during the game, even if they are the wrong ones - we can learn from those. We can't learn if players refuse to take risks.
  • When ripping and rolling - the ripping player takes the ball using both arms to create a tight seal around the ball - making contact with their shoulder and rolling through the contact to attack space - even if that space is small. They should do their best to scan the area in front of them prior to, during, and post contact - making decisions based on what they see and hear. Their initial foot position should be wide and stable, providing a strong base. We can be as prescriptive as we like, but you need to be open minded enough to allow players to discover what works for them.
  • When ripping and popping - again the ripping player wants to drive into the contact, sealing the ball safely and making shoulder contact with the ball carriers chest. They then rip the ball away - up until this point there should be four hands on the ball, two belonging to the ball carrier, and two belonging to the ripper. The ripper has a strong stance at the point of contact, low. The ripper provides a pop/pass to a teammate that is correctly weighted in terms of speed and distance.
  • There needs to be communication between the ball carrier and the ball ripper.
  • In the case of a pop/pass in traffic, the attacking team should work to move the ball away from traffic and into space.
  • Your leaders should be leading by word and actions.
  • The Scrum Half and first receiver (Fly Half) may well be directing the attack. The Scrum Half could also be active as the receiver of a pop/pass from a rip.
  • There is the possibility of forwards opeating as small pods to create traffic.



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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

Bang & Bingo

Set up: the cones as shown with a cone 10 meters each side of the posts on the try line. This will mark where the ball will be passed from (feeder) preferably from a scrum half. Divide the group into 3 and ask them to stand in single file behind each cone. The ball is fed from a position alternately from either side of the post. This will encourage the players to scan, communicate and to be expectant of the ball. The players on the cones opposite the posts will either be the 1st receiver or the BANG option runner. The BANG runner is always running an out to in, or up to in line to fix the 2nd defender. The players on the middle cone will receive the ball in the BINGO (pull back) option outside the ‘outside’ post or just in behind the BANG player. The BINGO players should run and an arced run to receive the ball outside the outer post. The BINGO player should try to straighten up prior to receiving or on receiving the ball. Progression: Get 2 players or coaches to stand in front of the posts with 2 different coloured cones in their hands on their hips. The cones will represent the ‘hips’ of the 2nd defender. The aim is to encourage the 1st receiver to scan, look, and make a quick decision (choice of pass) depending on what the defender is doing. If the 1st receivers sees the ‘inside’ cone on the 2nd defender then they must assume the defenders hips are turned OUT and make a short pass to the BANG runner. If the 1st receivers sees the ‘outside’ cone on the 2nd defender then they must assume the defenders hips are turned IN and make a PULL BACK pass to the BINGO runner.

Warm Up


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