Rugby: Three Blind Mice - Tag Warm-Up

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  • Tell the players that one group is the Mice and that mice have tails, their tags. The other group is not happy with the Mice, they are the Farmers Wives and - they need to chop the tails of the Mice off! The tails are the tags. The Farmers wives can run anywhere, in all directions, within the playing area - as can the Mice.
  • The Farmers Wives can work together to hunt a Mouse.
  • When a Mouse has their tail chopped off, they have to go to the chop zone (there might be some light fitness work there for them, your call. With older players you might have more interesting fitness work or challenges in the Chop Zone).
  • You might decide that one tail is enough to be sent to the chop zone, or maybe they have a second chance and the Farmers Wives need to get both tails.
  • Don't forget to change over after a period of time, counting the number of Mice in the chop zone. The winning team is the team with fewer Mice in the chop zone at the end of their playing time. You might decide on about five minutes a half.
  • Have a bit of fun with this and let us know what variations worked for you!


The is a whole host of coaching points that you could focus on with this warm-up, but I suggest that you select a small based on your training goals for this session.

  • Mice/Attackers should aim to move into space, a place without any Farmers Wives/Defenders.
  • This is a good opportunity to introduce the idea of attacking space to younger players.
  • Mice should side step, swerve, and maybe even hand off to avoid contact.
  • If you allow hand-offs, make sure that it's at chest height and not around the face.
  • Defenders or Farmers wives should work together to corner a mouse and remove the tags.
  • Good communication should be evident and appropriate to the age and skill level of the players.
  • Mice can use changes in foot speed to avoid losing their tails/tags.
  • Defenders can remove two tags at a time; this will develop later in their playing career into wrapping their arms around the attacker to create a ring of steel.
  • Really smart defenders or Farmers Wives might decide that they want to work as a line hunting groups of Mice, or maybe even all of them at one time.
  • Defenders focus on the hips of the attackers in order to track their movement.
  • Defenders keep their hands up and out reading to rip tags away.



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Living On The Edge

Split the players into two teams, giving each team their own set of bibs. Two different colours that clearly define the teams. Keep your player briefing, brief. It's important that you get your players moving as quickly as possible. Tell the players that we will be playing One Touch Ruck, see the laws surrounding this game in the Warm-Ups section of the SportPlan site. Briefly - when an attacking player is touched while carrying the ball: they go to ground and either pop or present the ball for a minimum of two supporting players to ruck over. The defence should behave as they normally would at the ruck, committing two players who will not compete for the ball or go into contact. The defence should employ their normal patterns around the ruck. The attacking team can have three touches in a row between the 15 meter lines, if they move the ball to the either of the 15 meter channels they can have another four touches in that channel before having to move the ball back out. If the attacking team moves quickly from one 15 meter channel to the other (exploiting space), they get a bonus of 4 touches in that zone. If any attacking team exceeds the number of touches they can sustain inside a channel, the ball is turned over. Play with these laws a bit - keeping an eye on what you want to achieve in this session. The normal laws of rugby apply, any law infringements result in a turn over. There is no kicking in this game. Don't forget to give the defence a turn in attack, if for any reason the attacking team is particularly good at retaining the ball. If they are, well done you as a coach!

Warm Up

Maul Touch

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, but there will be some light contact. Break your players into two teams, giving each team their own colour of bibs if necessary. One team goes to attack, and one to defence. Nominate a Scrum Half for each team, it will be their job to move the ball from the back of the maul and out to an attacking line. 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 stop and turn, a maul is then built based on how you have trained your players to Maul. Only four players should be in the maul - but every player should be able to maul - including the backs! When you start playing this game make sure that the defence is employing your defensive pattern around the maul. They will commit 4 players, but will not do anything more than provide light resistance. Once formed the maul can take four steps before moving the ball. If there is a delay in creating the maul, or the quality of the maul is poor - the ball can be turned over. 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! If a team has been in possession for a long time, don't forget to turn the ball over to give the opposition a run. 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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