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Breakdown - Session Plan for Returning to Rugby - HS and A with The Rugby Site

Again this session plan is tailored to teams that are returning to contact rugby We focus on safe effective Breakdown technique in a max 2v2 engagement. To start with Ben Herring and some 'core' drills to get the body ready for the breakdown contact. Josh Syms then gets into the FOG (fight on the Ground'). Players contesting with the ball while on the ground and making the best ball presentation to retain possession at the breakdown. Play The 'Reaction Jackal' drill presented by George Smith - one of the game's best ever "Jackals' to hone your 'Jackal' skills. Then piece it all together with Courtney Lawes and his Ball Carry into Contact session. Again no equipment apart from balls and cones required. Enjoy getting back into rugby.

Part 1. Breakdown Warm up - Core & Lower Body   6:02 Free video

We start the session with Ben Herring taking you through some simple core movements that help you prepare for getting stuck into a breakdown.


Part 2. Breakdown Warm up 2 - Upper Body & Stealing the Ball 8:05 Member content

Ben moves onto the upper body Breakdown warm up. Getting the body ready for the different contact aspects of the breakdown including ‘stealing’ the ball.

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Part 3. Breakdown (Fog) Fight on the Ground 16:59 Member content

Josh Syms introduces drills to help you develop the skill to win the ‘fight’ at the breakdown. Physically and mentally prepare your players for the breakdown contest. Josh has a special term for this part of the game – FOG or Fight on the Ground. It’s about how to land on the ground, how to present the ball. Then get the ball back in an efficient and effective way. Find out about ‘the triangle of contact’.

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Part 4. Reaction Jackal game 3:30 Free video

One of the best Jackals ever to play the game, George gets down into the breakdown and explains how stop his fellow Jackals. It is a contest about: speed into position less steps to get across the ball height – whoever wins the height battle wins the ‘steal’ arms underneath the shoulders – above gets a yellow or red! Replace the hit shield with another player, if required.

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Part 5. Ball Carrying and Clear out 8:18 Member content

This session from one of the most physical players in world rugby, focuses on the two key roles and responsibilities at the breakdown – the ball carrier and the clearer. Courtney Lawes uses all of his 6’ 7" frame to demonstrate how to get your team on the front foot, retain possession and deliver fast, effective ball in the contact area.

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Course Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Duration 42:54
Topics Session Plans
Applicable to Coaches   Others   Managers  
Languages English

Click on CC button at top left of video for other translation options.

Course reviews

The lads in session 5 could look at Wayne Smiths video on tackling, – try and get the shoulder to follow the leg and get the hands up – not “swimming” when coming in for the hit


Video 2- not so keen on that body position, particularly with kids. Head is below hips and exposed neck.


Enjoyable video, but wondering when this was made? Are some of these lessons now dated because of the changes in how the Breakdown laws are applied in 2020?


A really good presentation, demonstrating the ball under the body to control the collision then the ball emmergence.


Only issue with Courtneys session is he is teaching squeeze ball to an age group where it is not legal to use it


Very relevant exercises

South Africa

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