Rugby: Scoring Zones

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


  • 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!


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 understand that the ball is lost at the ruck and prepare for what is coming next.
  • You might discuss briefly with players why we don't compete for balls that are lost, we don't want to concede a penalty. That said in this game we are putting 3 defenders into every ruck - this game is about developing the attack, not the defence - the players need to know this.
  • Ball presentation must be quick, moving the ball, with purpose, away from contact.
  • Players rucking over should be aware of when the ball is out of a ruck and act accordingly, are they driving over for no good reason and ending the ruck too early?
  • The Scrum Half should focus on getting the ball away in 5 seconds or less.
  • The Scrum Half pass should be effective over distance off both his right and left hand, address this later if you find a problem. Also - is the Scrum Half and First Receiver communicating enough with respect to the direction of the attack, the distance between them etc.
  • Line speed with respect to the defense.
  • The attack should be using the ruck to create traffic; fast rucks to draw defenders in - then attacking the space created. This is sometimes referred to as overloading the defense. This is at the heart of drawing players away from the zone you wish to attack! The ruck should be used in this game as an attacking tool in and of itself, as a tactic.
  • Is the attacking team being creative e.g. running any preset backs moves? Why not? Or are they just attacking down the line?
  • The attack needs to attack with purpose, creating traffic and drawing the defence away from their preset point of attack.
  • Are leaders clearly highlighting their intentions and making decisions that support their goals, they must make decisions!
  • Players must be thinking about what is happening now, and what will happen next.



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