Rugby core skills and qualities

Sooner or later you will want to develop and enhance your rugby core skills and qualities. You may find this information is useful.

Important skills and qualities for rugby

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Some important skills are

  • tackle opposition players
  • kick the ball
  • evade tackles

Some important qualities are

  • calmness under pressure
  • vision
  • endurance

Rugby skills, qualities, abilities can be developed by taking part in some other sports

Pick up and hold the ball securely

Hold the ball securely from the moment you touch the ball.

When you pick up the ball you do it with the "cage grip". Fingers form a cradle underneath, thumbs press the ball into the cradle.

Hold it like that and you hold on to it, no need for adjustments. You will be confident when you hold the ball.

The more you practice, the more you will be confident on the field, in a game. You`ll find the details at rugby handling.

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Handle the ball with confidence

When you are the ball carrier on the field (the player in possession of the ball) be sure you handle the ball well so you keep possession.

Handling the ball involves moving it around in relation to your body, You do this in a number of situations, including

  • positioning the ball when preparing to pass or kick
  • positioning the ball so you can run fast or evasively

  • juggling the ball to keep possession after less than perfect catch
  • moving the ball to protect it when moving in to contact

Make sure you can handle the ball in any situation by practicing often.

This video will help with some ideas for how you cope with all the wierd situations that occur in a game of rugby.

Do it often by yourself with a one person rugby handling class.

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Receive and control a pass

One of the most important of the rugby core skills. When you are able to control the ball well when it has been passed to you in different situations you`ll feel confident.

The ball is moved around a lot in rugby so being able to catch the ball in many different circumstances is an important part of your game.

The more you control the ball the more likely

  • you will score
  • you will win games
  • you will enjoy yourself

Look for the catching skills section on the main menu.

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Move the ball - make it do the work

This is a very important area of rugby core skills.

When you pass the ball well you can safely move it to a player better placed than you are and so use the ball to the best advantage as a team.

"Let the ball do the work" is a saying in ball games like rugby.

It means move the ball around with well judged passes and you will break defences because the ball can move faster than players.

The aim is to get the ball into the hands of a player who is opposite a weakness in the opposition defence.

Ideally the player carrying the ball will simply run through a gap between opposition players and score.

You`ll find passing skills on the main menu.

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Moving with the ball

An important and expected part of rugby core skills.

Moviing fast with the ball rugby ball is not the same as just running.

When you run fast you will tend to use the one arm carry.

It allows high speed running and gives you a free arm to hand-off would-be tacklers.

The rest of the time you would tend to carry the ball in two hands because it allows you more easily to take options to pass or kick. I`ve called it the two hand carry

When you know what to do, do it often. Take every opportunity. Have your own ball so you can carry it when you go running. Do plenty of running, get plenty of practice.

Also be prepared. Scan the situation constantly so you`re well informed and make good decisions.

When you pass well to a supporting player you create an advantage. All the small advantages you create go to winning the game.

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Running, without the ball

Perhaps one of the surprising core rugby skills.

You can make an attack successful even without the ball.

Think through when you run and where you run so you create options for the ball carrier and make the defence worry about you.

Tune in to the ball carrier. Assess their most likely actions and assess the state of the defence.

Plan your running using the information gathered so you give your best possible support. Then you`ll be in the right place at the right time.

There`s more about this in rugby support play.

These are the rugby core skills to concentrate on, initially

Catching, Passing and Running.

Practice these rugby core skills constantly. Until you do them all well.

Then keep practicing until you do them perfectly

Then keep practicing!!!

Do loads by yourself. Amaze everyone with your skill.

You`ll be an expert, full of confidence!!!

Along the way build in the skills of tackling, kicking and especially evading - "the sidestep".

It`s worth knowing more about "the how to" of improving rugby skills.

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Core qualities - perseverence

An important quality.

You need it to build your core skills and to win games.

To me, perseverence means

  • you`re confident you`re on the right track
  • coupled with the ability to "keep at it"
  • and you feel "you`ll get there"

To improve the quality of perseverence

  • look around
  • weigh up the options
  • make considered decisions

  • set goals
  • measure as you progress
  • adjust your actions / goals to stay on course

Then, with that in place concentrate on what you are doing NOW and enjoy it!

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Ability to work in a team

Very important for a team game like rugby!

Imagine two groups of people each with a large rock to be moved.

Imagine one group is made up of brilliant individuals each convinced their abilities and ideas are best and no interest in listening to or helping others - no team.

First group, not an enjoyable place to be.

Imagine the second group, made up of mixed individuals each with their own range of abilities and ideas, prepared to listen to others and to co-operate to achieve a common aim - a team!

Second group, seems like a recipe for success!

To improve this quality...

Be genuinely concerned about team-mates.

Help team-mates with weaker skills

  • make sure you give superb passes
  • be there to support them
  • even if they make a poor decision

Do your utmost to

  • catch poor passes
  • be understanding about poor skills
  • empathise, encourage and console when mistakes happen "hard luck, no`re getting it..."

If the other player is clearly not at your skill level maybe offer advice, as casually as possible! "I do it like this...that often works..."

If you`re less skillful, ask for advice. "I`m trying to improve my kicking/passing/etc.. you seem pretty good...have you got any tips?"

Run well when you have the ball, the straighter towards the opposition goal-line the better. You make ground faster, you`re harder to tackle and you don`t take your team-mates ground!

They want to play as well. It doesn`t help if players run across field all the time.

Look hard for team-mates better placed. If it`s the best thing to do, make sure you give them the ball!

Be prepared to listen to and act on suggestions from other players.

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Other sports may help rugby core skills

Gymnasts may not spring to mind when you think of rugby.

But think again.

Think of rugby core skills and other qualities like

  • balanced movement
  • performing skills under pressure
  • developing courage

  • overcoming fear
  • quickly re-orienting yourself after a tumble
  • controlling your body

  • understanding and testing your physical abilities
  • developing strength and flexibility

Maybe you take part, great. Maybe, just maybe, reading and thinking about rugby skills from gymnastics will help you improve.

Basketball may also help. Basketball players develop skills and qualities that are useful in other sports.

Things from basketball that may be regarded as rugby core skills, qualities and abilities are

  • superior accelleration
  • superior decelleration
  • short sprint ability

  • change of pace
  • passing and catching the ball
  • jumping and springing

  • coordination
  • anticipation
  • tracking team mates and opposition

If you play you know already. If not, perhaps if you just read and think about rugby skills from basketball you will improve

I also learned a lot related to rugby core skills and qualities in just one running race which helped me both in rugby and many other things.

You may find this useful the loneliness of the long-distance runner - rugby goals for fitness.

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