GameChangers Live: Everything you need to know

  • England U18 coaches John Fletcher and Russell Earnshaw hosted GameChangers live
  • The session focused on CARDS and 'Coaching through Games'
  • Find out more about coaching and courses near you here

England Rugby's second GameChangers live from the Mitsubishi Motors Training Centre at Pennyhill Park was hosted by England U18 coaches John Fletcher and Russell Earnshaw. 

The interactive session focused on using CARDS in sessions and 'Coaching through Games'.

Coaching through Games

For more examples of games likes those used in GameChangers live with insight from some of the RFU's community coaches have a watch of some of the sessions below. 



Cards is an acronym for: creativity, awareness, resilience, decision making and self-organisation. They are the priority skills for helping develop the next generation of England Rugby players both on and off the pitch.

England U18 head coach John Fletcher explains each of the principles below:


“It’s the skill to come up with different solutions to the same problem,” says Fletcher. “We want players to explore and try new things.”


“In order for players to fully achieve their potential they need good awareness,” says Fletcher

“They need good awareness to help with decision making. Awareness is another word for information, our job is to support the players to search for as much information as possible. It’s a really important skill.”


“It’s a skill to adapt to pressure,” explains Fletcher. “So if they are in an uncomfortable situation, how can they adapt?"

Decision making

“The key is to have lots of options, don’t tell them the answers and they have to work it out for themselves. The fastest and the easiest way to coach is to tell young players the answers. We strongly believe that real learning comes from the players exploring and finding the best way that suits them”.


 “The more information you give players, the more structure you have in a game and the less they will self-organise,” explains Fletcher.

“We make a conscious decision to have a loose playing framework, that allows the players to self-organise in training and games. It’s based on players reading cues from other players in attack and defence."

Read more about how Fletcher and his team use the CARDS principles with the England U18 team. 

RFU coaching courses

We have a range of practical and theoretical courses to cover these differing aspirations, offered in all parts of the country. 

Coaches can use the RFU Introduction To Rugby Booklet to help inform themselves, parents and new players about the basics of rugby.

Coaching remains a valuable and rewarding way to get or stay involved in rugby union, and with an RFU qualification getting started as a coach is extremely straightforward. Want to go further? 

Online resources for coaches are also available here.