With rugby often referred to as ‘egg-chasing’, it might come as no surprise to hear that the England Sevens squad is incorporating ostrich eggs into its training in the build-up to the World Rugby Sevens Series Hong Kong leg.
The super-sized eggs, which weigh roughly two kilogrammes each, are being used as a tool to improve skills at a basic level for the squad. No one wants to be the one to drop an egg, due to all the associated mess, and the squad is seeing improvements in hand-eye coordination. This simple innovation is making improvements in throwing accuracy and in their touch of the ball – the egg is smaller and heavier than a regular rugby ball, so it handles differently. The squad is busy practising passes and even line-outs.
The incorporation of ostrich eggs is not the first of the more unusual techniques coaches have tried in English rugby; for example, standard balls have been halved and players have even been practicing drills whilst wearing restrictive boxing gloves.
Ostrich eggs might not be so easy to get hold of for the smaller, regional clubs; however, if you need to improve hand-eye coordination, there is almost certainly a rugby drill available from coaching sites such as https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/ to suit your squad.
The egg-cellent new drills were inspired by a trip to South Africa by Simon Amor, the head coach of the England Sevens, that incorporated a visit to an ostrich farm whilst the squad was taking part in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series South African leg.
Rugby is not the only sport to try unusual drills. These are not designed as ‘off the wall’ attention grabbers; instead, they encourage players to think differently and to expect the unexpected. The players can practise reacting to things they were not expecting and adapt their very regimented drills to not-exactly-by-the-book real-play situations.
Rugby Sevens continues to gain in popularity and the London leg of the HSBC tournament, billed the ‘Feast of Rugby’, will take place at Twickenham on the weekend of 20-21 May. There is an increased capacity this year, with 50,000 tickets available each day. The event organisers are promising something for everyone, with street food and music contributing to the festival atmosphere.