Detail Starting Situation

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 19:52

Note: this page is based on IRB coaching material, my own experiences and feedback from other coaches. Thanks Norman!

In General

When you want to create a high performance team you need to look at the team assets and individual strengths of players. Piecing together the optimum position for the players is one of the great teambuilding activities of the coach and his players.

I think a lot of coaches underestimate the motivational power that will develop when you start working with the players and discussing where their competence's will benefit the team the most.

With these players specific pages I hope to identify the main tasks that come along with the position. A great teambuilding activity would be to let the team match their individual skills with the positions.

Definition is one, to agree with these tasks is important, performing the tasks is the third thing. Doing all three with all the players in the team is an elementary step to a successful team !

Good luck in developing your team spirit!

Tight Head Prop (Number 3)

The tight head prop is the anchorman in the scrum and leads the attack on the opposition scrum. He must be a rock solid scrimmager. Total concentration at the scrum is required to be effective, making the scrum an attacking weapon, wearing down the opposition as the match progresses.

He should be dedicated to training in the gym to obtain that competitive edge. Going backwards in scrums should not be an option. Good scrimmaging = good rucks and mauls.

Every rugby player should develop his speed, for the props extra focus should be on the quick burst carrying the ball into the defensive line trying to suck in defenders: explosive steps, agility. Look at my SAQ pages to improve your running technique.

Mental Perspective

Props must be the most intense players on the pitch. This intensity must come to the fore during a scrum. The focus and concentration--physical, mental, emotional--required to dominate in the scrum, particularly at elite levels, far surpasses that displayed by other players.

There is a difference in the two prop positions that could very well be reflected in the character of the players. The Loose Head (LH) needs to be more aggressive. And although the TH will always be facing both the opposition Hooker and LH and will always be dominated he should be determined to pin the opposition LH down.

Line-out

A number of things:

  • (usually No. 1) take up a stance and stand square at the throw-in.
  • support the jumper in his leap.
  • bind and drive in the follow up, other players will look after the ball.

Scrum

The TH wants to utilize his natural advantage of being on the inside and drive on the bone on the back of the LH's neck direction down and back along his spine. Although he should be aggressive, he needs to be focused on his goal. He wants to push right through the second row and dominate the opposition LH.

I have a special page set up for building the scrum.

Offence

Being mobile is important - in effect another back row player - and being comfortable with the ball in hand. In today's modern fast dynamic rugby game it is essential that the two props get to the breakdown quickly, the first few meters are important from set play and make their presence felt with the binding and driving, strong mauling, the occasional pick-and-go and as a runner off second phase ball.

When approaching second phase play, decide whether you are joining a ruck/maul. No decision and simply going over the ball and bridge always seem the safe option - but challenge yourself: THINK! No decision is just as bad as a wrong decision......

  • read the opposition
  • participate actively in the lineout, support or not supporting the jumper
  • support the ball carrier on two sides (anywhere on the field)
  • be at the on-even or even second phase-play, divide the rolls op play
  • continue play in open area
  • look for the room between the opposition, not for the opposition

Rucks:

  • bind and drive past the ball
  • bind on the side which is most advantageous to your own team, take out the opposition and/of protect the ball
  • occasionally you can scoop the ball up and continue going forward. Think fist! are my backs in the ruck and where are my support players. Know this before entering the ruck
  • build a platform to protect the ball, at all legal cost
  • get involved when you are in the circle of influence

Mauls: own ball

  • prevent mauling by having mini rucks
  • bind on the side to protect delivery of the ball
  • act as the pivot for a rolling maul, after initially contributing to the forward drive
  • place the pivot on the spot where the is exploitation possible on the oppositions behalf

This player has to be an all-rounder in open play and is an excellent passer off both hands.

Defense

A good defender around the fringes and in cover. With most play seeing many more phases, the props end up everywhere in the defensive line. This can lead to a possible mismatch where a slower prop has to defend a speedy center. For this reason the props have to move inside to the marker positions next to the breakdown.

Defence:

  • have the ability to make good decisions
  • make offensive hits
  • know the roll you play in the defensive organization
  • compete always for the ball
  • pressure opposition in every position of play

Rucks: opposition ball

  • provide ball retainment
  • drive forward to slow down or stop their continuous play
  • bind with a team mate for better effect and remember your body position on entering

Mauls: opposition ball

  • drive forward to slow down or stop their continuous play
  • upset their delivery of the ball
  • stop the rotation of the maul by driving onto the legs on the side towards which the maul is rolling, again make it happen to stop a maul!
  • be aware that the backs could cut back against the initial flow of play. Be prepared to tackle the initial ball carrier

Key issues

  • He must be a strong scrimmager, strong runner and competitive.
  • One of the most vital positions in the team having to make important decisions at scrum and line out time.

My favorite TH prop of the RWC 2011

I like the front row of the 2006 and 2007 Italy team: small but very strong and clever, beating many bigger and stronger opponents. My favorite for the RWC 2011 is Owen Franks of New Zealand and Crusaders.

General issues

More on the functional role idea:

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 19:52

Note: this page started with IRB coaching material, added my own experiences and feedback from other coaches.

In General

When you want to create a high performance rugby team you need to look at the team assets and individual strengths of players. Piecing together the optimum position for the players is one of the great teambuilding activities of the coach and his players.

I think a lot of rugby coaches underestimate the motivational power that will develop when you start working with the players and discussing where their competence's will benefit the team the most.

With these rugby players specific pages I hope to identify the main tasks that come along with the position. A great teambuilding activity would be to let the team match their individual skills with the positions.

Definition is one, to agree with these tasks is important, performing the tasks is the third thing. Doing all three with all the players in the team is an elementary step to a successful team !

Good luck in developing your team spirit!

General issues

A good scrum now brings an enormous amount of force to bear on the opposition front row. Most of this is channeled onto the hooker to make hooking the ball as difficult as possible. A hooker is in the middle of things, a very physical player who likes the challenge of the front row battle.

The main requirement of a hooker now is that he is physically strong enough to take the strain of scrumming. Hooking technique, although still important, is second now to the accuracy and consistent throwing of the ball into the lineout.

Key issues are:

  • The ability to use correct body position
  • The ability to take the correct lines of running and show speed at breakdowns.
  • The ability to secure of regain possession at second phase of play.
  • MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, once you have arrived at a phase of play.

Every rugby player should develop his speed, for the hooker extra focus should be on the quick burst cutting through the defensive line: lateral movement, explosive steps, breaking tackles. Look at my SAQ pages to improve your running technique.

Line-out

Personally I expect the scrum half or another player to throw in the ball in the future, the hooker is too tired to have an accurate throw. A bit like the French used to do in the nineties.

Achieving a precise throw in requires hours of practice to master the different types of throws such as the lob or the flat throw, and adjust them to the different types of jumps -forward or back.

  • throw accurately into the lineout. Jumpers have many different throws. A bad throw can mean the winning of losing of a game. Again timing is imperative.
  • know the throw-in requirement of the jumpers and perfect them
  • participate actively in the lineout
  • stand in a position that enables maximum protection for the half-back from deflected ball
  • mark the opposition hooker closely
  • stand in a position that gives you an unimpeded line to the oppositions deflected ball
  • take advantage of the general play situation that often occurs when the ball is deflected by the opposition
  • pounce on the loose ball and or hassle the opposition half-back
  • because hookers are not bound into the line-out, they can enter general play very quickly

Scrum

  • Organise your strike with the throw-in and channeling of the ball. Practise this with your scrum-half against the posts.
  • Make your first priority winning the ball on the loose head. Only attempt the tight head, when it is of the greatest tactical value and catch the opposition by surprise.
  • Exert tactical and physical pressure on the opposing hooker at all times.

I have a special page set up for the scrum.

Open play: offence

From the scrums, options are the same as for the other members o the front row. When approaching second phase play, decide whether you are joining a phase of play and consider your options, THINK! It is just as bad to make no decision than a wrong one - be responsible.
Be prepared to be an attacking runner and therefore join the attack as often as possible. Look for work.

  • Nowadays being mobile is important - in effect another back row player - and being comfortable with the ball in hand.
  • He must be a strong scrummager, strong runner and competitive. One of the most vital positions in the team having to make important decisions at scrum and line out time.
  • This player has to be an all-rounder in open play and is an excellent passer off both hands.
  • Read the opposition.
  • Support the ball carrier on two sides (anywhere on the field).
  • Be at the on-even or even second phase play, divide the rolls op play.
  • Continue play in open area.
  • Look for the room between the opposition, not for the opposition.

Rucks: own ball - select one of the options:

  • bind and drive past the ball
  • bind on the side to protect delivery of the ball, listen to your scrum-half
  • the optional pick-and-go ball

Mauls: own ball - options are:

  • prevent mauling by having mini rucks
  • bind on the side to protect delivery of the ball
  • act as the pivot for a rolling maul, after initially contributing to the forward drive
  • place the pivot on the spot where the is exploitation possible on the oppositions behalf

Defense

A good defender around the fringes and in cover, and a nimble elusive runner who can sniff a gap and 'snipe' from both set and broken play. Espaecially in the line outs your position at the time of throw is important: choose the right angle to attack the opposing scrum-half or to collect poorly handled ball.

  • Develop the ability to make good decisions. Talk with others about your options.
  • Ability to contain pressure at the front of the lineout.
  • Make offensive hits.
  • Always compete always for the ball.
  • Put pressure on the opposition in every position of play.

Rucks: opposition ball, do one of the following:

  • provide ball retainment
  • bind with fellow player to stop the continuous play of the opposition
  • pack on the side of the ruck and take up the role of a flanker

Mauls: opposition ball - select from these options:

  • drive forward to slow down or stop their continuous play
  • upset their delivery of the ball
  • stop the rotation of the maul by driving onto the legs on the side towards which the maul is rolling, again make it happen to stop a maul!
  • At all times be aware that the backs could cut back against the initial flow of play. Be prepared to tackle the initial ball carrier.

My favorite Hooker of RWC2011

Keven Mealamu of NZ All Blacks, solid throw, good shape in the scrum, great individual skills in the close contact stuff. 

General issues

More on the functional role idea:

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 19:51

Note: this page is based on IRB coaching material, my own experiences and feedback from other coaches. Thanks Norman!

In General

When you want to create a high performance rugby team you need to look at the team assets and individual strengths of players. Piecing together the optimum position for the players is one of the great teambuilding activities of the coach and his players.

I think a lot of rugby coaches underestimate the motivational power that will develop when you start working with the players and discussing where their competence's will benefit the team the most.

With these rugby players specific pages I hope to identify the main tasks that come along with the position. A great teambuilding activity would be to let the team match their individual skills with the positions.

Definition is one, to agree with these tasks is important, performing the tasks is the third thing. Doing all three with all the players in the team is an elementary step to a successful team !

Good luck in developing your team spirit!

Loose Head Prop (#1)

The loose head prop together with Hooker has to put pressure on the opposition Tight Head. Total concentration at the scrum is required to be effective, making the scrum an attacking weapon, wearing down the opposition as the match progresses.

He should be dedicated to training in the gym to obtain that competitive edge. Going backwards in scrums should not be an option. Good scrimmaging = good rucks and mauls.

Every rugby player should develop his speed, for the props extra focus should be on the quick burst carrying the ball into the defensive line trying to suck in defenders: explosive steps, agility. Look at my SAQ pages to improve your running technique.

Mental Perspective

Props must be the most intense players on the pitch. This intensity must come to the fore during a scrum. The focus and concentration--physical, mental, emotional--required to dominate in the scrum, particularly at elite levels, far surpasses that displayed by other players.

There is a difference in the two prop positions that could very well be reflected in the character of the players. The Loose Head (LH) needs to be more aggressive. And although the TH will always be facing both the opposition Hooker and LH and will always be dominated he should be determined to pin the opposition LH down.

Line-out

Strength and timing as they assist the jumpers in the line out is important. A number of things:

  • Take up the same stance in the lineout, no matter where the ball is to be thrown.
  • Stand square at the throw-in.
  • Bind as closely as possible to the catcher at the same time keeping an eye on your opposition, do not leave a hole. If necessary support the jumper at the top of his leap.
  • Bind and drive in the follow up, do not get distracted by the bobbled ball - other team mates will look after the ball.

Scrum

The Loose Head (LH) needs to achieve a goal: get his head in and under the TH and push; he needs to lift the opposition TH. The LH is at a bit of a disadvantage from the outset and needs to overcompensate. To achieve this he needs to be very aggressive, self-sacrificing and deliberate.

Self-sacrificing: willing to take the pressure on the back of his neck and still slide his head in and under the TH. Deliberate: wanting to do what he has to do to get his head under the TH's sternum, and push up and forward with the back of his head, thereby getting the opposition to stand upright. I have a special page set up for the scrum.

In detail:

  • Try to lead in on your own put in.
  • Beat the opposition to the mark on each scrum.
  • Stabilize the scrum when the ball is put on the loose head so the ball is delivered from a stable platform.
  • Shoulders should be no lower than the knees. If the scrum is to be lowered then bend at the knees.
  • Drive scrummage from left leg to right leg, stabilize your footwork.

Open play: offence

Being mobile is important - in effect another back row player - and being comfortable with the ball in hand. In today's modern fast dynamic rugby game it is essential that the two props get to the breakdown quickly, the first few meters are important from set play and make their presence felt with the binding and driving, strong mauling, the occasional pick-and-go and as a runner off 2nd phase ball.

When approaching second phase play, decide whether you are joining a ruck/maul. No decision and simply going over the ball and bridge always seem the safe option - but challenge yourself: THINK! No decision is just as bad as a wrong decision......

  • read the opposition
  • participate actively in the lineout, support or not supporting the jumper
  • support the ball carrier on two sides (anywhere on the field)
  • be at the on-even or even second phase-play, divide the rolls op play
  • continue play in open area
  • look for the room between the opposition, not for the opposition

Rucks:

  • bind and drive past the ball
  • bind on the side which is most advantageous to your own team, take out the opposition and/of protect the ball
  • occasionally you can scoop the ball up and continue going forward. Think fist! are my backs in the ruck and where are my support players. Know this before entering the ruck
  • build a platform to protect the ball, at all legal cost
  • get involved when you are in the circle of influence

Mauls: own ball

  • prevent mauling by having mini rucks
  • bind on the side to protect delivery of the ball
  • act as the pivot for a rolling maul, after initially contributing to the forward drive
  • place the pivot on the spot where the is exploitation possible on the oppositions behalf

This player has to be an all-rounder in open play and is an excellent passer off both hands.

Defense

A good defender around the fringes and in cover. With most play seeing many more phases, the props end up everywhere in the defensive line. This can lead to a possible mismatch where a slower prop has to defend a speedy center. For this reason the props have to move inside to the marker positions next to the breakdown.

Defence:

  • have the ability to make good decisions
  • make offensive hits
  • know the roll you play in the defensive organization
  • compete always for the ball
  • pressure opposition in every position of play

Rucks: opposition ball

  • provide ball retainment
  • drive forward to slow down or stop their continuous play
  • bind with a team mate for better effect and remember your body position on entering

Mauls: opposition ball

  • drive forward to slow down or stop their continuous play
  • upset their delivery of the ball
  • stop the rotation of the maul by driving onto the legs on the side towards which the maul is rolling, again make it happen to stop a maul!
  • be aware that the backs could cut back against the initial flow of play. Be prepared to tackle the initial ball carrier

Key issues

  • He must be a strong scrimmager, strong runner and competitive. One of the most vital positions in the team having to make important decisions at scrum and line out time.
  • Strong scrummager
  • Support Line out jumpers
  • Tackle
  • Comfortable with ball in hand
  • Ability to make decisions at contact situations
  • Support player
  • Ability to gain and retain possesion
  • Provide support at kick-off
  • Concentration and dedication to the team from both props ensures a healthy 'team culture'.

My favorite LH prop of all times

I like the front row of the 2006 and 2007 Italy team: "small" but very strong and clever, beating many bigger and stronger opponents. But my RWC2011 favorite is Cian Healey.

General issues

More on the functional role idea:

   

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 19:53

Intro

In open play the functional roles of the rugby players are more situational rather then basedon the position on set-pieces. What is required from the players depends on the situation. This is where a rugby team with players with both a good collective awareness of space and opportunities and a high general skill level can express themselves. Perhaps a reason why counter attacking French rugby sides are so successful?

The French have been working at this for some time now. Pierre Villepreux laid the foundation of what is called Family Play. Jean Bidal took this a step further and detailed the responsibilities and tasks further. The basic idea is that when you know your position on the field relative to the ball, then you know in which family you belong and then it is easy to take the responsibilities and tasks of that family. The Families are defined as:

The most important thing is to communicate and coach the player in front of you. Tell him what you expect from him. Four different roles (or families) are described:

1.    Functional Role - Close Support

Key is to attack the space, move from playing in front of the defense to playing in the defense. Mismatch. Or off-load in the tackle. PLayers near the ball carrier should react to his actions and anticipate his next move.

If there is no inmediate penetration possible that the Close Support players should work on retaining the ball. Either in Rucks or Mauls

Ideally the Ball Carrier should not go to ground in the tackle because it is very difficult to recover ball that is on the ground quickly, the outcome is you play in front of the defense again.

2.    Functional Role - Early Support

This are the players who can carry on the attack if the Close Support players recycle it. This is mostly on the outside of the ball.

3.    Functional Roles - Late Support

These are the players who were involved in the previous phase or the forwards in a restart. They do not have to follow the ball but can form an attacking line on the inside of the Close Support players.

4.    Functional Role - Deep Support

These are the Reserves. The are behind the CLose Support Family and can help them to secure the ball or go through the gap too! If the ball is recycled by the Close Support players they can go and support the Early Support Family.

General issues

With these pages I hope to identify the general tasks in attack that come along with a position. To agree with these tasks is important. Performing the tasks is the third thing.

Doing all three with all the players in the team is a elementary step to building a successful team!

More on the functional role idea:

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 19:51

Your rugby players and their individual strengths are the rugby team assets. To put the different players where they make most of their talents. Especially in the Netherlands with little players this is an interesting puzzle. You have to look at the competences required for an individual role and match thoose. No match? Than you know what you have to do: develop the qualities in the players yourself.

Enjoy the rugby player profiles on my website and building your High Performance Super Team...

General

It is important that each individual player has a good understanding of the role of each player in the team. Only then the players can gel into a team and understand how to optimize each player performance. This is defined as

Role Clarity - Role Acceptance - Role Performance

Translated this means that you each player has to understand what he should do (and should not do), accept that part of playing in that position and than performing the tasks related to that role. Everybody should feel responsible to perform his task. It is your task as a coach to help players identify their tasks. With the National Under 18 of the Netherlands I used the Circle Model of Rico Schuijers, the inner Circle One is the inner circle of each individual player. Here he only has to focus on those things he can influence: task orientation. In other circles are the weather, referee decision, other players performances, etc. See the circles as an onion. 

Some tasks are the same for each position, working on those is the first priority everybody:

  • must be fit: define fit
  • should tackle
  • should not lose the ball in a tackle
  • must catch the ball and throw a decent pass
  • must be willing to fix somebody else his mistakes; immediately !

Positional Roles

Below is a overview of players positions in a rugby squad. Click to read what their functional roles are (mostly based on iRB manuals and oter feedback I gathered over the years):

 

General issues

More on the functional role idea:

   

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