Developing “Game Sense“ in Rugby

Keith Wilkinson, current Master Learning Facilitator for Coach Education, former international player, coach and manager writes an excellent article further detailing how to Develop "Game Sense" in Rugby.

In the fifty years I have been involved in Rugby, the ability to “read” a game has always been prized, but often only as an afterthought.  These days, it may be called “Game Sense,” but it means the same: An ability to understand and make decisions in the heat and pressure of a Game.  

Read the rest of entry »

Sealing OFF

André Watson, South Africa's refereeing boss, has spoken to referees and coaches about a slack application of the tackle law which forbids the action popularly known as 'sealing off'. He warned that referees who failed to stop sealing off risked being benched.

Sealing off occurs after a ball-carrier has been tackled and a support player or support players fall on to of the tackled player to ensure that their side can get the ball by preventing opponents from getting to it. This is against the principle of having a fair contest for the ball after a tackle.

This is contrary to Law 15 which requires arriving players to be on their feet to contest the ball.

Read the rest of entry »

A Game Sense Approach to Coaching.

As Technical Director of Rugby Ontario I spend a lot of time around the playing and practicing of rugby in Ontario and across Canada. One thing often stands out to me as one fundamental issue (amongst others) that coaches must address for the betterment of the game.

Read the rest of entry »

ReFlections from Andrew McMaster from Nations Cup

 Overall, the experience was what I expected, with some high-level play and good knowledge and compliance by players. That being said, the three referees undoubtedly brought the level of play by being both strict and consistent. I was a little surprised by how informal the PR process was, but the three referees were all at the end of their season, so this may have played a role. With regard to specific thoughts on my experience on the pitch, I have broken it down into three categories – communication, technical observation and tactical considerations – to be in line with my weekly game planning and review process.

Read the rest of entry »

Planning for Performance: Season Planning

All coaches undertake some level of planning when it comes to delivering an effective practice.  This planning could be in the form of email exchanges or phone calls to coordinate with assistant coaches, or spending the first ten minutes practice sorting out the session while the athletes play touch.   Some of the factors that go into planning are the number of athletes, their level of rugby skill and athletic ability, the length of the session, the amount of space available and the number of days to the next game.  These are all important factors when determining the goals of your practice.  It is counterproductive to plan a practice that develops advanced strategic play when the basic technical skills required are lacking – for example working on advanced scrummaging techniques (nudges/wheels) when basic body positioning is poor.   In my experience, effective coaches take a step back from session planning and start with a season plan. They establish goals for the year – what techn ...

Read the rest of entry »

Andrew McMaster writes about the Level of Officiating at Nations Cup

It's Thursday, June 16 and I've just roused myself to head to breakfast. Yesterday was matchday 2 here at the Nations Cup, in Bucharest, Romania. After breakfast, we will have a match officials meeting to go over any and all issues from yesterday's matches. All were close affairs, with Georgia pipping Argentina A 14-13; Romania coming up just short (despite some good opportunities late in the match) against the SA Kings (which is actually the regional franchise from the South-Eastern Cape and in 2013 will be playing in the Super Rubgy competition, replacing the lowest placed of the current SA franchises from next season); and lastly Namibia putting together a much-improved performance to beat Portugal 29-23. All three matches were well-contested and fast-paced in near-perfect conditions.

Read the rest of entry »

Why I did what I did – OFSAA Boys AAA/AAAA Final

I have been asked by a number of people what happened in the OFSAA final and why I blew up breakdowns that looked as if Stouffville had won the ball. They probably had but they did not do it in a legal way.   As a referee I try to manage a game not officiate it with the iron will of a law book. Rather my mantra: is to provide a platform for athletes to be able to show off their talents to their best potential - if they so choose.   The final was a very frustrating game for me as a referee as per the outline below I tried all management tips I have learnt over nearly 18 years of high level officiating.   The key issues in this game were the habits of one team that are totally illegal in the game of rugby and quite clearly a taught behaviour. The tactic is what I call ‘Hinging” when the arriving player binds onto the tackled player with head an shoulders below hips in an attempt to ensure ball security. This however contravenes about six laws and principles in the game.   Here i ...

Read the rest of entry »

The Breakdown

The Breakdown 

June 14

Coaches, players, referees and spectators are often on different pages when it comes to rugby. They see things from very different perspectives. But one thing all of these key stakeholders agree on is that the Breakdown (tackle and ruck) area is not fully understood. Many do not understand what they can or can't do, it happen so quickly and is so dynamic that many things can happen at once.

The follow series of clips have been provided to Rugby Canada by the Australian Rugby Union. They are the best video clips on the Tackle and Ruck that I have seen and should help all involved get a clearer picture of the Breakdown. 

Watch them in sequence to get a full understanding of this dynamic part of rugby. 


Tackle Definition

The Tackler

Tackled Players

Arriving Players

The Gate

Off-side at the Tackle

The Ruck


 Joining Players


Ball Out



Pages: Prev12Return Top
WordPress Tutorials
DNN Support