Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Blast your team before the game to blast away the opposition in the game by David Clarke

Canadian Team Warm Up

Canadian Team Warm Up

Players need to get to near the same intensity in the warm up as they would in the match, says top sports fitness expert Chris Jones. That means the same physical battering and exertion. His thoughts are backed up by Huw Bevan, formerly conditioning coach with the Ospreys and now a high level fitness consultant.


Activate the brain and muscles


This blast of hard work is short-lived, and does not use up too much of the energy needed for the game. The anaerobic energy is restored with a short break before the start of the game, supplemented with energy foods and drinks.


The workout engages the brain and muscles together so they are working in unison in readiness for the match.


In an series of articles in next month’s Rugby Coach Newsletter, I will explain how Chris Jones’ research, based in part on the Gold Medal winning success of our athletes in the Olympics, can be used for your team’s benefit. Also Huw Bevan will show you how to put this into practice with your own team.


It will give you key ways to:

          manage your team’s warm up,

          use food and drink to restore the right energy levels prior to the match,

          understand what gets the players ready the quickest,

          know what to avoid in the warm up.


I have tested these methods in the last month on my own teams, and I can testify that the first 15 minutes of the performance has been excellent, well above normal expectations.


For further information on Chris Jones and his high performance techniques, click here.

ELVs – the never ending experiment by David Clarke

Rugby coaches around the world are pouring over their tactics and working out whether the new laws have made a significant difference to the game.

In the Northern Hemisphere, two complaints have made most of the headlines: more kicking and inconsistency at the breakdown.

Just a moment…

Inconsistency at the breakdown? That is not talking about an ELV. It is a directive from the IRB for referees to stop “bridging and sealing”. However referees are not controlling this area in the game in the same way. Recently criticism has been aimed at Jonathan Kaplan, the well-respected South African referee in the way he dealt the ruck area in two separate Tri Nations games. “A free for all” said one coach about the last game after he had been very harsh in the previous match. Continue reading

Five incidents in sixty minutes by David Clarke
September 22, 2008, 9:01 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Team Management | Tags: , ,

In one hour I was part of or witness to five incidents which required coaching judgement. None of them were tactical, but you may recognise some of these for yourself.


1. Compromises?

I refereed my first game of the season, an Under 11s game. In the chat before the game with the coaches, the ELVs were a topic of conversation. It being the first game of the season for one team and the second for the other, one team were not using quick throws and others were. What would you allow?


2. Injuries in game time

Before the game I refereed, I told the coaches that if there was an injury, I would play on if the player was not close to the action and I deemed it not immediately serious. The coach should come on and see to the player and ask me to stop the game if necessary. Would you agree to that?

Continue reading

Sealing and bridging: profit and loss by David Clarke


Last week I posted the IRB reminders on the interpretation of the law about “bridging and sealing”. It is not explicitly stated in the law book but here are the rough definitions:


Bridging: forming a bridge with your legs or knees and hands or elbows over the ball.

Sealing: securing yourself to the tackled player, preventing the opposition grabbing the ball and if driven back, taking the tackled player and ball with you.


Since, in the spirit of the game, players are meant to stay on their feet, any attempt by players who are not on their feet to prevent the ball being contested is illegal.


Market forces have prevailed though. Coaches and players are always seeking ways to profit from the laws.

Continue reading

Why rugby players fight by David Clarke


It is said that rugby has a wonderful reputation for fair play and good humour. And yet there are still plenty of on field fights, with spectacular scraps coming in some of the biggest games.


Apart from the fact it is detrimental to the game, fighting is not good for the team. Aggressive players do make a difference to a side, but they can also be a liability. I ran a very physical ruck and tackle session on Friday night and it was clear who the players wanted to avoid. However the same player could square up to an opponent and find himself giving away a penalty, being sent to the sin bin or worse still, being sent off.

Continue reading

Teams losing their feet over old law by David Clarke

Sealing and bridging is confirmed as illegal. This month referees were told to be more vigilant in the tackle contest area and lots of teams struggled.


This is mainly because of poor technique in the contact area. Players go off their feet because they are not balanced as they arrive and they tend to drive down and not up.


Here is that ruling again, plus a clip of a ruck drill.

Continue reading

What were you doing last night? by David Clarke


Last night at 6.55pm I was standing in the local park, in the lashing rain, waiting to take a session with the senior team I help out with.


The misery was not complete though. The local council had shut off the electricity, so no lights, or hot water (who needs to wash if you are a real man). And of course, the steady stream of excuses for not training was pounding down the cell phones nearly as fast as the rain.


Then the sun appeared, the 20 players who had showed started up some touch rugby and we were away. There was no chance to do anything as a possible unit for the first league game at the weekend, because there were too many players missing. But those who had braved the weather were keen.

  Continue reading