Ensemble Rugby

Practical Resource

This is a small resource for attendees of Eddie Jones’ Ensemble Rugby.

Below are some sample of training we discussed at the Ensemble Rugby Seminars. It is not meant to be a comprehensive resource, but rather, just a sample of what we discussed.

We will leave this page up until the end of April 2019.

Good luck with your coaching!!  Regards – JP

Small Space Agility

Small space agility is important in so many areas of rugby (ball carry, 2nd man reaction to support, defensive agility…..). So we need to regularly force players to move at maximum speed in small distances and small space. Also, we need to develop the ability of the body to change posture very quickly (high to low, low to high, high-low-lateral). These may be done on the field or in the gym.

General strength training does not improve this ability, as the exercises are too slow, and dont have much demand on coordination.

Look at the exercises below. This may stimulate your thinking. And then design your own exercises to do it.

Lateral 1-5

Variations (hydrovest, change spacings, with plate)

Turn & burn

Partner races. Coach calls Left or Right to start race.

Oregon sway

Front rowers and locks are often very poor and slow at this. You can have many players doing it at the same time.

Lateral hurdle shuffle to acceleration

With plate or stick hold in front

Lateral shuffle

With aquabag, stepping over lines on COD

Stop & go

Upper body first

Linear (straight line) Speed Exercises

A few different drills here. But the key in all is efficient transfer of energy thru the body. We use stiffness and elasticity to drive the body – like a kangaroo. Many players with strong legs (developed in the gym) are unable to convert this into running speed as they have poor running mechanics and poor tension, especially through the core. This core tension creates better running speed but also faster reactions (step, pass, accelerate etc)


1-2-2 (with aquabag)

Variations (overhead load, punching overhead)


Wall lockouts

With reaches, spindles, multiple switches


1-2-3-4 & hold

With stick on back (keep stick still)


Fall to wall lockouts

Acceleration position


Arm hug accelerations

First four steps then release


Pole vault accelerations

With aquabag


Walking hip lock reaches

To short acceleration

Top Speed

Single-side bounds

From static start, upright position

Top Speed

Left-left-right (LLR)

From static start, upright position

Vertical Speed

To reduce body height but still maintain power, tension and balance we need to be able to hinge at the hip. Many players lower body height by rounding the back, with legs behind the body.

These are just simple examples but there are many progressions. May be of use especially for taller players.

Hinge at hip

Step & punch

Punch plate to target

Hinge at hip

Run, punch & hold

To target