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Run Catch and Pass

articles_runcatchandpass.jpgRugby is a simple game of running and ball movement: your players need to become skilled at shifting the ball to teammates while running. Players who can pass correctly will cause their opponents defensive concerns, as accurate passing prevents the defence from dominating the team with the ball.

By moving the point of attack, the offence will unsettle the defence and gaps will appear, even against solid defensive patterns. Remember the field is 70 metres wide. This applies to professional rugby and our Under 7 Small Blacks. Pass, pass, and pass!

The ball in rugby should be passed away from potential tacklers, so the team with the ball needs players running in support of the ball-carrier. This can be very hard to coach, as it doesn't just mean to run behind a player.

Running in support usually means being in a position to receive a pass. The task is to make the attack so accurate that there will be more attackers in one area of the field than there are defenders. With accurate passing and catching, the attacking team will score tries.

During a game there will be many opportunities for attacking players to create space for these support players to run into. It can be created in situations where the attack outnumbers the defence, but not always, as manipulating the defence is often what attackers are faced with in a game. Success in these passing situations is to draw the defenders towards teammates - committing them to tackling or moving towards the ball-carrier - to create space for another attacker to find a gap.

Starting Point

It is important to note that it is best to carry the ball in two hands slightly out in front of the chest. From this position the ability to make a good pass is maximised.

There are many types of passes in the game for players to work on. The following list isn't exhaustive, it's just a common group of passes that players need to refine.

  • Basic pass
  • Receiving pass
  • Draw and pass
  • Dive pass
  • Off-ground pass
  • Pop pass
  • Spiral pass
  • Lob pass
  • Pass through the tackle
  • On back pass
  • Cut out pass
  • Switch/scissors pass
  • Dummy pass

The ‘basic pass' is the one that should be used at every practice.

The Perfect Pass

  • Accuracy is the most important factor.
  • Players should be able to pass both gently and with force depending on the situation.
  • It is better to pass with less rather than more force.
  • A gentle pass will draw the receiver to the ball.
  • A forceful pass often pushes the receiver away from the most effective running line. The receiver will be forced to run sideways, which makes tackling by the defence easier.
  • Once players can control the weight of the pass, they will be able to send out passes that will allow support players to make the best use of the attacking options and space.
  • A ball arriving below chest height is no good because the receiver will have to look down to catch it. The player will look away from the defence and may lose sight of an opportunity.
  • Passing too high has the same effect and it opens a player up as a target in defence.
  • The ideal pass arrives at about chest height, with enough power (whether soft or hard) to allow the receiver to use their options.

All these basic passes involve some form of movement of the arms, wrists and fingers.

  • A short lateral pass may only require a flick of the wrists and fingers.
  • Long passes may need to be a full swing of the arms and also use of larger parts of the body, such as the shoulders, hips and legs.

Therefore there must be a lot of development of techniques that can send accurate passes that vary in length, height, power and direction.

Only use defensive opposition in practice when the players have mastered the simple passing and catching skills. Then you can use these techniques which will allow players to refine passing skills under pressure. And don't allow the defensive players in these situations to go for intercepts!

It's That Simple!