7 lineouts you must have

Make sure your lineout playbook has these seven essentials at the start. You can then build your season’s variations around them and develop a more effective lineout.

It’s fair to say that many teams’ lineouts are a jack-of-all-trades, but masters of none. They have so many plays that they don’t get the basics right.

Gary Gold was the forwards’ coach of arguably the best lineout in the world: the South African team of the late 2000s. He said that even if sides knew what was coming, they still couldn’t compete with excellent execution.

That comes from a balance of technique and teamwork, honed from many hours of practice. If your team spends too much of their valuable time trying out new plays, they can easily forget the basics.

Therefore, you must perform the following lineouts close to their best before you try out any variations.

Once you have these seven lineouts outlined, you need to spend time practising. Depending on your time allocation, you should spend about 1:1:1. That is, a third of your time on technique, which could form part of a warm-up, one-third on play design and one-third on competitive lineouts, to test out the plays.


1 Banker

The simplest lineout, it is a throw to the front of the lineout. The thrower throws only when the jumper goes up.

The banker ball works best from the players arriving at the lineout, and then the ball coming in, not arriving, waiting and then throwing.

2 Risk/reward

This is a lineout to the middle or middle/back. Depending on the opposition, the jumper either goes up on the spot or moves back. If they are going up at the spot, they nod/signal to the thrower, who throws, and then the jumper jumps.

Otherwise, they move back three steps. As they move, the thrower throws.

3 Maul

Your team must have a catch-and-drive option. See Rock solid catch and drive and ROAR when you maul on how to set this up. But don’t overdo training on this aspect at the expense of the other six lineout options.

4 Shorty

You should have one shortened lineout option available for two reasons. The first is to mitigate against teams with an excellent lineout defence, and you need to mix them up. Second, and more positively, a shortened lineout allows a different attacking shape in midfield.


5 Anti-maul

What are you going to do to stop a lineout maul? Identify the calls and the roles of players.

6 5m play

If they have a lineout on the 5m line, what will you do? Jump or drive?

Also, if you have a lineout on your 5m line, will you have a shortened lineout?

7 Disrupt

If you are going to compete, how do you set up? Do you always lift at the front? Do you have the personnel to react to the opposition lineout?

Share this
Follow us