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Defense with Flags

Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Defense
  • Flags


To have players understand the process of playing with flags and execute smart flag pulls.

What to Coach

There is a four step process when making a full defensive flag pull. This process keeps players safe and will help players learn the progressions when transitioning to tackle rugby.

Step 1:  Provide a demonstration that walks players through the four steps:

  1. Defender removes ball carrier’s flag and yells, “FLAG!” to communicate the flag pull.
  2. Ball carrier can take up to three additional steps after a flag pull before passing to a teammate.  Ball carrier then passes to a teammate.
  3. Defender returns the flag to the ball carrier and then returns to play.
  4. Ball carrier replaces the flag on their flag belt and then returns to play.  Both players are out of play until the flag is returned.

Step 3:  Have players work in pairs to practice the process of pulling a flag.  Begin by having players remain stationary and then advance to walking and running.

Step 4: After each player practices the progressions play 3 v 3 Keep Away Rugby and have players practice real time flag pulls.

Coaching Notes

Game Progressions

  1. Have players play Flag Fury and focus on making proper flag pulls.
  2. Play Freeze Tag, using flag pulls as the way to freeze a player.
  3. Incorporate flags in games like USA Eagles in order to add a more advanced progression.

Key Concepts

  1. Make sure all flags are clearly visible and worn properly.
  2. Make sure players are yelling “FLAG!” loud and clear every time they pull a flag.
  3. Double check to make sure players are putting their flags back on correctly.
  4. Make sure players always return their opponent’s flag before returning to play and are not throwing flags on the ground.

Log Activity

Log Activity (New)

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Please provide a brief summary of the session and any additional information relevant for reporting. Things to include could be the number of volunteers present, types of resources provided, and follow-up/next steps.