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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Pressure Ball

Make sure your warm-up area is marked out before the players arrive. Depending on the number of players you have at training, mark out several warm-up grids. The size of your grid is a suggestion, but around 10 meters x 10 meters. The bigger the grid, the easier it is for the attackers - they have more space. The smaller the grid, the easier it is for the defenders. Break your players into two groups, pads and passers. One third of your players will be passers; the rest will be on the pads. Have one team quickly demonstrate the game to the other players. In each grid have four players on pads, and two passers. You could have more passers; I'll leave this to your judgment. The job of the players on the pads is to put pressure on the ball carrier, to surround them and stop them from passing the ball. The players on the pads are also trying to force the passers to make mistakes e.g. drop the ball, throw a bad pass etc. The passers have to move the ball around the grid, avoiding the pads. Passers can pass the ball in any direction. Players on the pads should have a little fun, and within reason push the passers around a little. You can award points for each successful pass, and points to the defending team on the pads for every occasion when a ball carrier is surrounded or the ball carriers make a mistake. Don't forget to change the players around, and to give players on the pads a go at passing the ball under pressure. Law Variations: You could insist that passers have only 3 second to make their pass, or risk losing a point to the defending team.

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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