Tips to help players develop the five key rugby skills

Coaches understand that repetition in training is the answer to mastering a game that is both technical and physically demanding. Here are some key tips that will help players to achieve their aims.

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1. Passing

In the modern game, it is not only the backs that have to master the skills associated with passing; in addition, the forwards are now much more involved in moving the ball across the pitch. Everyone should be able to complete offloads and spin and flat passes designed to miss out colleagues and confuse defences. Constant practice in training involving rugby drills will help to transfer these skills to match days.

2. Tackling

This is a fundamental part of the game and has been highlighted recently in the wake of new concussion protocols introduced by the rugby authorities. Players need to understand the rules about high and dangerous tackles and concentrate on variations such as the chop tackle below the knee and the torso challenges, ensuring both arms wrap around the opponent. Coaches will also be keen to encourage doubling up whereby defenders hunt in pairs.

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3. Running

This involves movement with and without the ball. Everyone loves to run with the ball in hand, with players needing to show a change of pace and direction. Without the ball, it is all about picking the correct lines to run, straightening the attack or picking a defence-splitting angle while preparing to receive the ball. Coaches will want to vary training with rugby drills; for example, they can review rugby drills at

4. Kicking

This is a fundamental part of the game despite all the talk about running rugby. Those charged with goal kicks need to practise splitting the posts from all angles and distances. The drop kick is also a key skill that can keep the scoreboard ticking over. Finally, kicking from hand is not just a half-back skill but should be used by all players to turn defences and create surprise.

5. Rucks and mauls

It sometimes seems that only referees know the rules here, but players should have a sound understanding of exactly what they can and cannot do in these situations. Defensive teams should always be trying to win a turnover of possession.

Once these skills are in place, you can go out and enjoy the game.