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CoacHclass Top Tips VII

Our latest Top Tip focuses on the Switch and Scissor Passes

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Switch and Scissor Passes

The Switch and Scissor Passes are just two of the many core rugby skills that will be coached at our Summer CoacHclasses along with the understanding of when and why the skill would be utilised within the game of rugby.

The passes are used as tactical ploys to:

  • Achieve a breakthrough and score. This does not happen often because defences are too well organised on the whole. If you manage to get through the first line of defence, generally the second line or third line prevents further progress
  • Create second phase possession and then attack a disorganised defence. The point of the ploy might be to off balance the defence momentarily and to get across the gain line. The supporting forwards know where the attack is striking and should get there first

It is skills such as this that have helped to make our young gun players such as Danny Cipriani, Dominic Waldouck and Tom Rees such valuable assets to London Wasps and have helped to make the Gold 'n' Blacks one of this season's Heineken Cup Finalists.

Key Points:

Tom Rees (SBI Images)

Tom Rees (SBI Images)


  • Ball carrier to run straight and then change his angle of run across the pitch, either at right angles or on a diagonal.
  • Shield the ball from the tackler.
  • When he takes the running space of the outside player, the outside player should switch back inside on a straight running line.
  • The receiver should then look back outside for support
  • The receiver decides when to start his run and demand the ball. He can scan the field in front more easily than the ball carrier.


  • Ball carrier runs straight and then changes his angle of run.
  • He makes a diagonal run.
  • When he offers the pass, it should be shielded from the opposition so that the receiver sees it all the time; the ball will be protected by the ball carrier's body if the potential tackler makes the hit.
  • The receiver to run on a diagonal and look inside for his support.
  • Communication should take place.

Coaching Factors:

Danny Cipriani (SBI Images)

Danny Cipriani (SBI Images)

  • There are several types of switch move, but there are factors common to them all.
  • The ball carrier changes direction and runs across. The defender has to follow him and so a gap is created which the switching player will attack.
  • The switching player should decide when to change direction to receive the pass because the ball carrier will not have full vision of the defenders. The switching player will delay his run until the last possible moment to minimise the defenders' reaction time.
  • The pass will be screened from the opposition by the ball carrier's side and back. This will protect the ball in the event of a tackle being made at the moment the pass is being given. It also means that the ball is hidden from the defenders and a dummy switch is possible.
  • The scissors is where the switching player is running back towards his forwards. His angle of run is also across but the intention is to link up with his back row rather than his fellow three-quarters.
  • The switch is where the angle of run is straight. The intention of the attacking player now is to link up with the three-quarters on the outside.
  • The outward switch is where the switching player passes to the man outside him. The ball carrier then heads back, running across to hold the opposition on the inside. He then passes to the original ball carrier as he is running across, heading outside. This is similar to a loop, but the angles of run of both players make the difference.
Dominic Waldouck (SBI Images)

Dominic Waldouck (SBI Images)

Running In Support:

  • Let the ball carrier know support is available!
  • Support from wide and deep
  • Always try to read the body language of the ball carrier
  • Remind the ball carrier to use support (this encourages players to support again).

Running in a rugby match is often done at top speed, when carrying the ball, running in support of the ball carrier or racing to tackle an opponent. In the latter case the hands should be ready to play their grasping role in the tackling situation.

CoacHclass Top Tips Series

CoacHclass Top Tips - Popping the ball out of the tackle
CoacHclass Top Tips II - Decision-making in attack



CoacHclass Top Tips III - Rucking
CoacHclass Top Tips IV - Evasive Running
CoacHclass Top Tips V - The Fend / Hand Off
CoacHclass Top Tips VI - The Three-Point Principle before, during and after contact

Summer CoacHclass

5-Day Residential 'Be Your Best' Academy CoacHclass at SEAE Arborfield with London Wasps and the British Army
30th July 2007 to 3rd August 2007

Under 14s to Under 18s
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3-Day Summer CoacHclass at Aylesbury RFC
14th to 16th August 2007
Under 8s to Under 15s
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3-Day Summer CoacHclass at the London Wasps Training Ground, Twyford Avenue, Acton
21st to 23rd August 2007
Under 8s to Under 15s

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3-Day Summer CoacHclass at High Wycombe RUFC
28th to 30th August 2007
Under 8s to Under 15s
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