Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Turn it into a game by David Clarke

Richard GrahamI have just read an interview with the new Australian skills coach, Richard Graham, who is just finishing at Saracens. The full interview can be read at the blog.

One of the main ways he coaches rugby skills is to use “skills games” whereby the skills are used in game situations. If a player is struggling with the skill, then he is taken to the side to work on the skill before returning to the game.

On Wednesday we launched our new book 48 Rugby Skills Games . (Follow that link to download a couple of free examples).We know that Wayne Smith, the assistant coach with All Blacks, uses skills games, also England conditioning coaches employ them and from this latest article, the Australian side too.

The interest in the book has come from all around the world. I know from my own experience of playing and coaching that I prefer to play a game and so do the players. And there are plenty of learning benefits as well.

It is worth noting that Graham was one of the greats of sevens rugby in the late 90s.

Better Rugby Coaching

2009 will define the 2011 Rugby World Cup winning coach by David Clarke

The next couple of months will shape the coaching staffs for the major World Cup teams. The governing bodies know that two years about the minimum time a coach can make a real impact. Of course some have had immediate success: Warren Gatland for Wales and perhaps Robbie Deans for Australia. The jury is still out on Pieter De Villiers of South Africa, and Martin Johnson not really the coach for England.

The Six Nations will tell us something about the ambitions of the teams. The Lions tour will define some of the possible stars of the World Cup.

But for me, 2009 will show us how the shape of the game has changed at the top table. The ELVs and breakdown protocols have now filtered through. Referees are becoming more consistent in their interpretation. Players have adpated on field and coaches off field. I don’t see much new after the middle of 2009 and into the Tri Nations.

The competition will revert to the most skilful, best prepared side winning; a mix of the talent available and the coaching expertise to manage those resources. I cannot see the World Cup winning coach not in place at the end of this year. The big four, that is the only four winners of the World Cup, are still in the box seats today, but the hopefuls, that is Argentina, France and even perhaps Wales and Ireland, need to get 2009 right if they want to be in the final mix.

The coaching challenges remain the same, at all levels. This year will define the personnel.

The multicultural world of rugby by David Clarke
November 19, 2008, 9:12 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, ELVs, Rugby Coaching | Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday I read a piece about all the great New Zealand coaches who are not coaching in New Zealand. Robbie Deans and Warren Gatland would be the two highest profile names on that list.

The same could be said of former All Black players in the rest of the world. Hundreds of top class players leave New Zealand every year.


Nick Evans, former All Black half back, playing for English club, the Harlequins

Though the All Blacks nearly lost to Munster last night, their reign as THE number one rugby nation continues. These leakages are not terminal nor in the long run, the end of international rugby. 

The key to all this is nothing to do with national teams. It is about playing rugby. Top class rugby bears little resemblence to rugby in the parks, on the sides of hills or in the dusty flats just out of town.

However, despite all the training and pressure, the majority of international players are no different to the guys and girls who run out on a Saturday afternoon in all weathers. They have a laugh and a joke like the rest of us, and want to win for themselves as much as for their team.

What makes things more interesting is the mix of cultures from around the world. No longer are we entrenched in a narrow ways of thinking. Different strokes bring different thoughts. It is fresh, it is vibrant and rugby will grow because of it.

Having access to this wealth of differences makes my job of writing about rugby a constant joy. The interpretations and changes fashion cause debate and provoke new ideas.

I welcome this “smaller” world of rugby, and hope that the IRB does not split us into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres with the rule changes.


Are you worried about the ELVs? The top coaches aren’t by David Clarke

There has been plenty of confusion and misinformation, plus a number of conspiracy theories about the ELVs. The world’s top coaches see the ELVs as here, an opportunity and are working how to deal with them.


Here is what the top coaches are saying at the moment.

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The Methods of the World’s Top Rugby Coaches by David Clarke

Here is a fantastic article published this weekend in the South African Independent on Saturday by Peter Bills.

It shows us that the world’s best coaches give the players a lot more freedom to express themselves than previous eras of coaches.

De Villiers, Deans can change rugby

June 07 2008


By Peter Bills


The stagnation of world rugby, a reality confirmed by the recent World Cup and the Six Nations tournaments in the northern hemisphere, could be resolved in 2008’s Tri-Nations Championship.


The arrival of Robbie Deans as the new coach of Australia this week and Peter de Villiers’s innovative hand on the controls in South African rugby, offers the game the opportunity to make overdue progress.


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