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Fitness and Game Related Activities

With a short kick-in to the 2020 rugby season it is a good idea to include fitness aspects of the game within game related aspects of play. This requires the coach to make a plan where several phases make up one passage of play.  Complete four passages in one block, a period of reasonably intense activity which could last about 3-4 minutes, before using the next 3-4 minutes to discuss and practice technical and tactical aspects.

To maintain the necessary intensity during the phases of play the extra players should be on hit shields, or ‘live’, as the attack becomes more proficient. The coach should carry two rugby balls and have a ball ready for each of the four starter plays.

The activity may be a full 15 versus the additional squad members or there could be two mini-units within the team versus the other mini-unit or specific attackers versus the remaining squad members. Just make sure the players are aware of what they are trying to achieve.

Example only: SCRUM: Attacking the blindside from the 15m line. Two starting options going right and two starting options going left.
1- Pack in to machine (or tight 5)
2- No 8 pick and run right – tackled by player in flanker position.
3- No 6 cleans out (lots of options here depending on attack concepts) / No 7 and 5 secure each side of the ball. Remaining forwards maintain pressure on the machine.
4- 9 runs the blind and works a scissor with the winger. Winger looking for an offload
5- From the breakdown there is a decoy group ready to run off 9 – 10 kicks a diagonal kick to the left wing on the side-line
6- Close players provide support. Forwards move up across the field.
7- Maintain ball until the try is scored.
[ Teams will already have these sorts of plays in operation. The concept is to now create the extra intensity and accuracy every time a play is carried out.]

# The technical and tactical detail is up to the coach. If the team are small and want to keep the ball alive the whole team should be practicing the off-load. The forwards could be practicing the scrum – right side up etc. The whole squad could practice clean-outs and ruck characteristics and strategies. The first receiver should be practicing diagonal kicks and the back three should be practicing catching high balls on the run.
There is plenty of detail that can be planned for.

# If the ball is dropped or lost at any stage it should be recovered and carried on OR the coach might kick a ball behind the attacking team who must reposition to counter-attack and continue with this OR the coach could roll a ball somewhere and the attack team must quickly adjust and start broken-play attack.

# If a clean break is made early in the phases the coach may call out ‘tackled’ so that another phase can take place.

# Unless the attacks are specific to attacking inside the 22 then start the attacks from deep so that plenty of phases can be carried out on the way to scoring.

# Once the team score the coach will point them to the next starting point and they will sprint there and get ready. There will be four starting points plus any counter attacking opportunities.

# Defensive strategies and techniques can also be practiced – the coach might divide the squad in to two teams and start from loose ball where strategies and in particular, contact strategies and techniques, can be practiced.
This is a good time to place specific requirements on the players – rucks must take no longer than 3 seconds / the first ball receiver cannot make contact…. The coach will have their own strategies to implement.

A 90-minute session could be taken up with 60-70 minutes of game related aspects [or less]. Even better, the players could have input in to the planning. Now is a good time to get this underway. Be specific in your planning to meet the needs of your Game Plan and Tactics.