Rugby: Left Out

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Eifion, Rugby Coach


  • The players behind start running around the circle in a clockwise direction.
  • When the coach shouts ATTACK, each player must get back to their partner - staying outside the circle and moving clockwise.
  • They must get through their partners legs before getting to the center of the circle and steeling a ball, then carrying it back and passing it to their partner.
  • The team/group that does not get a ball is LEFT OUT!
  • Make sure that you have something for the players that are out of the main game to do.
  • Have the players return their ball to the center of the circle, but reduce the number of ball in the center of the circle by one. So if there are 7 groups left, there should only be 6 balls. The players swap roles in their groups, so the previous runner is now static.
  • Start the game again.
  • Experiment with the number of balls in the center of the circle - to make the game harder or easier.


You don't have to focus on all of the following coaching points, you may have some of your own. Pick the points that are most relevant to your teams training goals.

  • Players respond to calls quickly.
  • Players get to their feet quickly following time on the ground, change direction quickly after steeling a ball, and vary their foot speed from jog to sprint when the coach shouts ATTACK.
  • Players carry the ball in two hands.
  • The pass is not spun and is accurate in terms of speed, distance and position.
  • Players encourage one another.
  • Watch for cheating!
  • Have an activity for players that are out of the game.



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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

Scoring Zones

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. 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.The defence must commit three players to every ruck, or risk an infringement which will see tem pushed back ten meters. The ball must be moved from the ruck within 5 seconds. Make sure that the defense is employing your defensive pattern around the ruck.  Throughout the game the coach call the point of attack e,g, attack RED ZONE or Zone 2. The coach can also call the scoring zone, Score At Zone Yellow or Zone 3. As the game progresses have the players call the point of attack, and the scoring zones - but they must do this early and they must committ to that attack for a period of time. 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! On a mistake or after a period of time, turn the ball over so that both teams get time in attack and defence. 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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