Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

A Rugby Judo Throw by David Clarke

Here is a Judo throw which you might be able to use in your rugby training.

REMEMBER: safety first. Work on soft grounds with prepared players.

But, as Craig’s blog post asks below, is it legal?

Mumbles U8 Presentation Evening by David Clarke

Here is the video I put together for my U8 rugby team presentation evening.

Duncan Jones, the Wales and Osprey loosehead prop, gave away the medals to the boys. He was an excellent role model, talking quietly to each boy as they came up to shake hands.

Anyway, it was our last season of tag rugby. Onto rugby tackling, mauling and rucking!


Playing to win or playing to please by David Clarke


A good day to be a Munster supporterMunster won the Heineken Cup this weekend against Toulouse. Both teams were previous winners and both teams have a distinct style of play.


The Munster side’s rugby tactics were “pragmatic” and “dogmatic”. In other words, they played to win and rarely wavered from the task in hand. Pretty it wasn’t, effective it was.


As it happens, I work in an office with a Munster supporter. She lives and breathes the ups and downs of the team. She will be smiling all week (when she eventually returns) and she won’t think that her team did anything less than please!


Continue reading

Presentation night preparation – should you have a rugby player award ceremony? by David Clarke


I have just spent the last four hours putting together a presentation for the mighty Mumbles Under 8s end of rugby season evening.


Argh! Technology makes everything worse. People expect a whizzy PowerPoint movie. So I have been slaving away with my MovieMaker and Spielberg baseball cap on to produce a record of the season.


But one thing worries me.


Do I have a rugby player of the year award?


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Rugby coaching and judo – five questions that need answering by David Clarke

Craig McKay, a Rugby Coach subscriber from Grimsby, UK, says that certain professionals in rugby are telling us that judo is a necessary part of development training for young players, even Premiership players. He wants to know why.


Something is bothering me.


My son trains with the local professional club’s development squad and so I get hear about some of the current thinking in rugby. And one of those ideas which keeps coming up is using judo training to enhance the ability of players in contact.


I want to know more. It sounds like a good thought, but I need some more convincing.


Here are my five must know questions… Continue reading

Rugby Perfection by David Clarke

Brendan Gallaher recently – and quite eloquently – described what made for “perfect” rugby, illustrating his point with Bath’s six first half tries against Saracens. In case you haven’t seen Bath’s great display of attacking rugby, here are the highlights of the game:

Gallagher also described the dazzling try the Barbarian’s scored against the All Blacks in 1973. While I enjoyed the article, it left me wondering what “perfect” rugby was.

Of course, “perfection” is subjective. For many in Wales, the Baa-Baas try wasn’t quite perfect because John Pullin, an Englishman, touched the ball during the play!

Okay, that’s facetious, but I suspect that many in New Zealand, whilst acknowledging the skill involved, might have a different perspective on the game.

Anyway, allowing him his quite parochial view on the matter, let’s use Gallagher’s top 5 moments to set the benchmark for rugby perfection:

1. Barbarians v New Zealand, 1973

Perfect setting, perfect opening to a game, perfect finish. Perfect team try.

2. All Blacks v Australia, 1996

Despite awful wet conditions the All Blacks did not spill a ball in 80 minutes, thumping Australia 43-6.

3. England v Australia, 2003

The build-up for the World Cup winning dropped goal. The Aussies (and everyone else) could see what was happening, but could do nothing about it.

4. Barbarians v NZ Barbarians, 1987

The World Cup winning squad toured the UK as the NZ Barbarians. They signed off with a brilliant 68-16 win over the Barbarians in Cardiff.

5. Munster v Toulouse, 2000

Munster outplayed mighty Toulouse at their own running game in the baking heat of Bordeaux to win the Heineken Cup semi-final 31-25.

You can post your comment or describe your own “perfect” rugby moment here, and can read Gallagher’s article in full at

Toby Cuthoys, Better Rugby Coaching publisher

Your help needed: What can we offer in terms of rugby coaching expertise to this video? by David Clarke

An enterprising rugby place kicker has posted a video of himself on Youtube wanting some advice on how to improve his rugby goal kicking.

He has used two static positions to place the camera, plus some slow motion footage. It is a refreshing approach, and one used by rugby skills coaches to help isolate technical faults.

Coaching rugby goal kicking is a tricky business because there is more than one way to strike a good kick. Also a good rugby goal kicker in matches requires mental strength.

But in this video, what can we offer in terms of rugby coaching expertise?

Here is a checklist to start with:

Is there a good rhythm? Does the kicker look comfortable when he strikes the ball?
Does the foot follow through to the target or cut across the rugby ball?
Does the landing foot allow the kicker to strike the ball on the up stroke of the swing of the leg?

You are the rugby coach…what do you think?

And remember – we don’t to give the goal kicker too many thoughts. One or two is enough for this rugby session.

Dan Cottrell, Better Rugby Coaching Editor

Pop Cycles for better short rugby passing by David Clarke

Short passes are also known as pop passes in rugby. They are “left” in space for the next player to run onto. Often the ball carrier has drawn away his opposite man to create that space.

To create a rugby drill for this, I devised an exercise called Pop Cycles, as part of Rugby Smart Sessions.

The exercise can easily be developed with longer channels, different widths and then varying degrees of defence. In the Rugby Smart Session, the game after this exercise aimed to isolate the need for these skills to work in narrow channels.

The boys in this rugby exercise had not done the drill before we filmed it, showing how easy it is to set up, and develop.