The rear half-panel

Put your halfbacks in control of running games. This session works on 10 organizing their players around them. They and the support runners should read the defense and aim to either attack space or make contact under the best conditions. In the second part of lesson 9, assume more of the decision-making role.


Warm-up time: 5-7

Session time: 8-10

Development time: 10-15

Game time: 15-20

Warm-up time: 5-8


what to think

The most interesting part of this drill will be how your 10 reacts to being flatter or deeper. Whichever they choose, they must engage the defense while passing the ball to support the runners in time for them to cross the line or make contact as they please.

When working against the ruck pads, there is a danger of the ball carrier getting lazy with their body angles. Be tough on this aspect. Also, it’s worth activating the ruck pad holders once the ball carrier has gone to ground by having them use a spare arm to grab the ball. This will allow the ball carrier to present the ball more accurately and clearing players to correctly eliminate threats.

Install

  1. 10: Bring in your support players early with good communication, but drop in late to bring in the defence.
  2. 9: Get the 10 on the ball with your pass, so watch where he wants to be, not where he is now.
  3. Support Players: Keep 10 informed of your running lines.

What you make your players do

Lay out four ruck pad supports as in picture 1, with two directly in front of the 10. Have two support players on either side of the 10.

When 9 passes to 10, they attack the ruck pads, switching to either support player (pop passes, switches, circle ball). When the ball carrier touches a pad, they go to ground, with the other support player clearing. 9 and 10 realign, with two other support players (see photo 2). Depending on your signal, 10 wide passes to support players or walk away. The remaining ruck pad mounts provide a line of defense to work against.

9 and 10 reset on the other side to work with the next four players.

A running 10 on both ruck pad holders with two support players. When they make contact, they go to the ground.


Development

Add another support player, who can run 9 of the second phase.

Add another support player from the first phase who aims to meet the first point of contact in support. Optionally, add a defender without a ruck pad at this stage to race for the ball after the ball carrier makes contact.

9 clears the ball to 10 who, depending on your signal, passes close or far to the next group of support players.  After that, 9 and 10 realign on the right side, with the next four support players working.

9 clears the ball to 10 who, depending on your signal, passes close or far to the next group of support players. After that, 9 and 10 realign on the right side, with the next four support players working.


game status

Set up a 9 and a 10 and four support players as in picture 3. They face two ruck pad supports and three non-ruck pad supports. Make the offense run through the first channel, going to the ground on first contact.

The ball carrier does not need a support player to clear. Count how long before he can pass the ball. The attack then aims to score in the wide channel, with full contact, against the three defenders without ruck pads.

The attack works in the narrow channel until a support player hits a pad.  On contact he goes down, you indicate when he can let go of the ball and the offense aims to score in the wide channel against three defenders, using full contact.

The attack works in the narrow channel until a support player hits a pad. On contact he goes down, you indicate when he can let go of the ball and the offense aims to score in the wide channel against three defenders, using full contact.


What to shout

  • “Attack the Line to the Rhythm”
  • “Early calls from support players”
  • “Change angles to keep the defense fixed”
Dan Cotrell

About Dan Cottrell

Dan is a Level 3 RFU Coach and Coach Educator. He is a coach with the Bristol Bears DPP programme, is the assistant coach of the University of Bristol women’s team and is a mentor coach for the mini and junior section of Broad Plain RFC. He was head coach of Swansea U15 schools and previously held coaching positions at Young Ospreys Academy and assistant coach of the Wales women’s team for the 2010 World Cup. rugby at Cranleigh School, Surrey. Previously he played rugby for Bath and Bristol.