Rugby: Pre-Contact Circuit

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


  • Brief your players, but keep it brief!
  • In each grid there will not be two channels. In each of the two channels there are two players with a tackle bag and two players binding with their back to the runner. The players binding will be leaning/driving against a tackle shield (similar to how they would be during a maul). The shield will provide support and resistance just before and during the runners hit.
  • The first player starts and runs to the player with the tackle bag and makes a tackle before moving on.
  • After the 2nd tackle they runs to bind with the 2 players and drives them across the line, their bind should result in their head between the hips of the two players in front of him and his shoulders in contact with the from two players backsides. The players driving position should be low and the hit proportionate. When the 3 players cross the line, one of the 2 binding players takes over and continues to run up the other channel, with the first running player now binding with the other remaining player and taking up a driving position against the shield.
  • Change players around to ensure that every player has an opportunity to play different roles.


You don't have to focus on all of the following coaching points, just the ones that you feel are in line with your training goals. Don't forget that you can have your own coaching points!

  • The tempo of the exercise is high, as many players are moving and as involved as possible.
  • Players hit the bags making a strong contact with their shoulder, their foot position promotes driving through the tackle, closing their arms around the bag upon contact.
  • Following a tackle the player gets to their feet quickly.
  • If needed, remind players about how to tackle safely.
  • Players approach the Maul situation safely with a change in foot-speed to safely, yet with force, join the maul.
  • Players in the maul use good communication to work together as a unit to drive forward.
  • Maul foot-speed and direction is controlled.
  • Body position at the maul is low, using the strength of the legs combined with body weight to drive forward.
  • Variation: Place a ball at the back of the maul, the joining player has to legally stay bound while placing the ball on their hip and driving forward. Communication will have to change to take into account the presence of the ball and how to control it. The ball carrier can now spin off the back of the maul and score just over the line, before another player begins their circuit.



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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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