Learn how to keep the ball alive

Sonny Bill Williams is pretty good at it. So, too, Glasgow’s Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa. What are we talking about? Offloading.

These two players are known for looking to keep their hands free in the tackle so they can offload to a support runner. It keeps the ball alive and often catches defences out because they might expect the ball-carrier to go to ground and recycle.

So how do you do it? The video above shows mini rugby players demonstrating the skill – and the key is to do it at the right time. Making a risky offload is not always the best option. You might be able to get around the defender with nifty footwork or a hand-off. Or going to ground to set up a ruck might be a better choice if the defence has your support player covered. But if you are held in the tackle and can get your hands free to offload to a team-mate in space, do it.

Make sure you keep the ball in both hands to keep the defender guessing as to whether you’ll pass and the support runner should time his run to catch the opposition off-guard, ideally cutting into the space left by the defender.

This is just one of a series of videos Rugby World has put together to show mini rugby players how to perform various skills, from the switch to the two-on-one. The aim is to help improve players’ all-round game.

Every month Rugby World magazine features a ‘How To’ guide on a specific technique and a fun game to use in training that will keep the players entertained and help develop skills like the teamwork, communication, support play and evasive running.

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