Rugby: Snap, Crackle, and POP - Touch Variation

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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:

  • Keep the law briefing, brief!
  • Normal laws of rugby apply - in the case of a knock on etc. the ball will be turned over to the opposition.
  • When the ball carrier is touched, they must go to ground. The defender steps back and does not compete for the ball.
  • The defender that made the touch - cannot make the next touch!
  • The ball carrier on the groud must pop the ball to a supporting player, the pop pass should be quick - any delay can result in a turn over. Judge the speed at which the player has went to ground, how quickly the support has gotten there and how quickly the pass was made. Depending on the age and skill level of your player - make a decision on weather you allow the attack to continue or if the ball is lost and turned over.
  • The player receiving the pop has two options - they can take the pop at speed driving past the defender who made the original touch (remember they cannot make a second touch right away). Or - they can stop and pass the ball away from contact. If the supporting player stops to take the pop - the defence must allow that support player to make a pass away from the point of contact. The support player cannot run on.
  • The ball cannot be kicked.


You might decide to focus on a number of the following?

  • Player communication, it should be meaningful, encouraging, and effective.
  • There should be examples of good communication in both defense and attack.
  • Players should fall correctly, knee, hips, and shoulders.
  • Players on the ground should fall facing away from the defense, creating a narrow gate (do as you would in the real game).
  • The defense should use this as a chance to rehearse their defensive formation around a ruck; the downed player can be consider a ruck in this case.
  • The ball carrier should have support. There may be space following the touch, and the defender that touched the current ball carrier cannot make a second touch. In the game the tackler will possibly be on the groud - we can attack that space.
  • The support player should ideally be hitting the ball at speed, getting beyond the touch.
  • The attacking team should react to opportunities that have taken them beyond the defensive line, forcing the defense to turn around.
  • The ball carrier should be taking the ball to ground in two hands.
  • The quality of the pop should be weighted in terms of speed, direction, and timing.
  • Is the support runner communicating with the ball carrier e.g. support behind, down now, pop now.

Scoring Zones | 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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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.

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