Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


Go forward and at pace by David Clarke
February 8, 2009, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills

Go forward to win games.

It’s that simple really. And yet some many teams get bogged down in “patterns” and “moves”. Yes these play an important part in breaking down defences. But in the plainest terms, if the defence is moving backwards, it will become disorganised and gaps with appear.

Here are four ways to create go forward, starting with the easiest first:

1. A ball carrier runs at the tackle line at full speed.

2. A ball carrier runs into a space between defenders on the tackle line at full speed.

3. A ball carrier runs into the arms of the defenders (not the chest) and either breaks the the tackle, or offloads to another player coming through at pace.

4. A ball carrier runs at the chest of the defender, drives the defender back, falls to the ground or stays on his feet. The next couple of his own team secure the ball for another player to pass the ball away within three seconds.

Of all the teams in the Six Nations this weekend, which teams achieved this the most. 1st Wales 2nd Ireland 3rd France 4th Scotland 5th England 6th Italy.

Interestingly the breakdown area was not controversial in the first set of three matches. Some problems, but not too messy.

And finally, I have to admit I made the same mistake as Nick Mallet once and it cost me an important game. Back at the end of the 1990’s the U18 school team I was coaching was invited to play against Rugby 1st XV on their hallowed turf for the end of season game. We had had a great season, Rugby less so. But my number one scrum half was ill and I decided to go with the fly half at 9. It didn’t work out, and we lost the game by the tightest of margins. I learned that 9, like 2, 8 and 10 are not positions that can be messed around with. I should have dropped Nick a line to tell him!

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