This website uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more by viewing our privacy and cookie policy.

Women's Rugby

Skills and development programme for Women’s Rugby

The RFU is working in partnership with BUCS to provide a skills and development programme for women wanting to play. The aim is to make the game more enjoyable, more skilful and safe, particularly for inexperienced players. RFU coaches will be responsible for this national programme with coaching sessions, transitional games and festivals at venues accessible to every university.

University women's rugby team

Photo: RFU Archive

A large proportion of women play rugby union at university for the first time and it is recognised that the majority of these players need proper support to be able to play a full 15-a-side game. Therefore the beginning of the BUCS programme has been delayed until Wednesday, October 30 for Tier 2 and below. This will create up to four weeks for players to prepare for the competition. Teams will follow a structured training programme with a regional festival built in to enable participants to put into practice the skills they have gained.

Following this development programme (MS Excel 16kB) the leagues will operate as normal with the same amount of games offered in the BUCS championship programme and under the same regulations as last season.

For more information on skills sessions and festivals near you, contact your local University Rugby Development Officer (PDF 184kB).

The RFU has a comprehensive coaching programme supported by a new coaching resource which provides players and coaches with all the information and support you. It is designed particularly with players who are new to the game in mind, but the core skills, game sense coaching and transitional games will enable all players to develop, whatever their level and previous experience.

Skills and Development Coaching Sessions
Sesson Sesson Content Downloads
1. The basics 

Development of key rugby skills, handing, catching, passing, spacial awareness, teamwork

Develop confidence in contact

Encourage skilful play through games

 Session 1 (PDF 1188KB)

2. The introduction of defence

Demonstrate principles of warm up and cool down

Introduce concept of contact in defence

Demonstrate principles of attack and defence

Develop principles of play - 'go forward'

 Session 2 (PDF 1206KB)

3. The grab tackle

Introduce concept of tackle in defence

Develop principle of play - 'continuity'

Offside laws

Contact with the ground

 Session 3 (PDF 1000 KB)

4. Running lines & game understanding

Demonstrate principles of attack and defence

Develop lines of running

Develop decision making in attack

Develop scrum half pass from the ground

 Session 4 (PDF 976 KB)

5. Contest for the ball on the ground

Contest for the ball on the ground

Introduce second defender in the tackle

Introduce mini maul

Continue the progression of running lines and passing moves

Session 5 (PDF 1031 KB)

6. Body shape and the Scrum

Contest for the ball at the contact area

Demonstrate principles of attack and defence

Introduce scrum body shape

Demonstrate importance of correct body position at scrum and contact

Session 6 (PDF 1027 KB)

The RFU recommend that anyone coaching contact rugby should attend both a Rugby Ready and UKCC Coaching Rugby Union Level 2 course. For details of courses near you, go to These session plans can be used in conjunction with the RFU Scrum Factory, led by an experienced lead coach as a tool for the parallel development of players and coaches.

This resource provides you with the following:

  • Game and coaching plans which have been developed to deliver appropriate activities for this target group
  • An enjoyable game-centred approach to introducing and developing the game
  • Activities that maximise the involvement and development of all players
  • Links to relevant video coaching content on

For further information, please contact your local University Rugby Development Officer (PDF 184kB).


Find your local Rugby club