Rugby: Rugby League - Touch Rugby Variation

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


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:

  • No forward passes.
  • When touched, stop and set the ball down.
  • Another player from your team will act as scrum half - passing the ball to his teammates, who will continue the attack.
  • Each team will be allowed five touches before they must turn the ball over (you can make this more or less depending on the skill level of your players and what you're hoping to achieve during the session.) Some coaches decide on unlimited touches, only turning the ball over when a mistake is made by the attack e.g. a knock on.
  • Knock on's and other law infringements will result in a turn over to the opposition. 
  • Don't be afraid to play these laws a little, e.g. for younger players you might even go as far as to allow some knock on's or turn a blind eye to the odd forward pass - let them play a little and have fun!


I think you should focus on just a few coaching points at any one time, and that targets should be agreed with your players depending on their age and ability. That said, the following are some points that you might like to refer to:
  • Keep the laws simple and get the players going as soon as you can, no standing around and no debates - it's rugby not the debating society.
  • What do we attack? Space - What do we attack it at? Speed! Encourage the players to identify space, possibly with very quick stops where players are asked to freeze on the whistle blast - where is the space? Restart right away, no long debates. 
  • You might allow your scrum halves to be the players moving the ball after each touch, maybe even giving them a target time in which the ball has to be moved - this speeds the game up.
  • With older players do not waste this opportunity to identify that the ball cannot be turned over following the touch - so what is our defensive formation following a tackle where the ball cannot be turned over? Do we contest everything? 
  • Think about having more than one game going at a time, if numbers and space allow.
Be creative - a great coach (and that's you) will be able to use their warm-up as a spring-board to the core of the session - and will start coaching from the very start of the session!



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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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