Rugby: Space Invaders

What a fantastic tool. I've found a few drills that are unfamiliar,...
Wes, Rugby Coach


Keep your playing briefing, brief and tell the players the following laws.

  • Both teams are in attack and both teams are in defence, at the same time!
  • It is up to you how many players you allocate to your attack and how many you allocate to your defence.
  • If you are touched while carrying the ball (decide if the touch is one handed or two handed), you and your entire team must return to your red zone before being able to restart your attack. While your team is returning to your own zone - you cannot defend the neutral zone and any touches in there will not count.
  • If your team makes a mistake e.g. a dropped ball or forward pass. Your entire team must return to your own red zone, not defending the neutral zone as you retreat.
  • The winning team is the team that invades the oppositions space and scores a try, just outside the grid, first.
  • There is no offside in defence.
  • There is no kicking.


You don't have to focus on all of the noted coaching points, you may also have some of your own.

  • Leadership is vital to define roles in attack and defence.
  • Good communication is at the heart of highlighting: roles, opportunities in attack, and problems in defence.
  • Players should scan what is in front of them, and respond to what they see.
  • Ball carrier attacks space at pace.
  • Support runners in attack aim to draw defenders away from the space they seek to attack.
  • Attacking players aim to take full advantage of any confusion within the grid.
  • Attackers use traffic to block defenders.
  • Attackers create and target mismatches.
  • Attackers take full advantage of a team that is in retreat.
  • Defenders work together to push attackers towards the touch line, closing down their space and using the line as an extra defender.
  • Passes are weighted correctly in terms of speed, distance and accuracy.
  • Attackers use changes in foot speed, spins, side steps, and dummy passes to avoid contact.
  • Players trust their defensive unit to defend and trust their judgement.
  • Player must make decisions, but those decisions must be communicated to the team.
  • Communication between players should be encouraging.

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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