GLT21: Coaching thoughts on goal line drop outs

How will you react to the Global Law Trials. Some of our contributors give their view on how it will impact on the teams you might coach.

Goal line drop-out

The trial

If the ball is held up in in-goal, there is a knock-on from an attacking player in in-goal or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal, then play restarts with a goal line drop-out anywhere along the goal line.

Primary intention

To encourage variety in attacking play close to the goal line and to increase ball in play time by replacing a scrum with a kick that must be taken without delay. An opportunity for counter attack is also created.

Russell Bolton Backs coach, Tring RFC, rugby professional, Magdalen College School, Oxford

If you have a dominant scrum this law will be really unwelcome. The benefits are that we may see more creative play when people get into the 22m rather than take an attritional approach.

  • I’ll be looking for my teams to change the point of attack close to the line and manipulate defenders so that two-man tackles are harder to make.
  • When we drop out we need to make sure that a long kick does not then open us up to the 50:22 return. What we are looking to achieve from a chase will be an important consideration.
  • Defensively, can we create excitement about isolating attackers and holding players up.

Phil Llewellyn Host of RCW’s Roundup Rodeo, head coach, Oxford University Ladies, Scholarship Manager at Birmingham City University and former RFU and IRFU player development officer


Players will need to start practising long distance drops now more than they have previously. Many happily seem to practise contestable restarts which makes perfect sense but needing to get a smooth and solid technique for distance could become important.

Using your bodies momentum, following along well and not trying to hit the ball too hard would be my top tips here.


Where to send the ball becomes the next question. My best suggestion would be to aim for the tram lines and look to land it as close to the touchline as possible.

Setting up your chase to ensure you retain pace on the wing to which you will kick the ball, as well as pace in the middle of the park to shut off the mid field will be crucial. Here I would want my teams to be making the tackle inside the 15m channel if they can.

This means a couple things will happen. The opposition will look to play in field. If this is the case then excellent, as we know they can only play one way. Getting our defenders rushing up hard to shut down the field will enable us to be gain line positive as a defence.

Nail this twice more in succession and I suspect the opposition will either drop the ball or kick it away. Very few teams I’ve seen tend to go three phases backwards and still try and attack.

If they don’t play infield and the kick went towards the half way or 10m line then there could be enough room for them to look to box kick and contest. I’d take this as a win for the defence as there is a good chance we’ll get the ball back plus any kick that is too long could be called as a mark and dealt with comfortably.

Hopefully the back three have been doing lots of aerial contest work during game play sessions where kicking is encouraged an utilised to develop skills applicable to the game.


How might the attack may use of the goal line drop out? For one, ensuring players who can catch and pass over distance are in the positions most likely to take the ball.

Knowing a defence wants me to stay in the 15m channel, I’d be looking to shift the ball to the midfield space as quickly as we can whilst scanning for mis matches in terms of pace and physicality.

Continually looking behind the defensive line is also going to offer up opportunities for chips, grubbers and cross field kicks or effective offloads post contact to create line breaks. The receiving team has been gifted a 22 metre advantage so why not look to make the most of it.

George Ross Lead DPP coach Harlequins, head coach for Surrey Women

The goal line drop out brings a new tactical dimension to the game with plenty of opportunities for teams to launch counter attacking rugby.

Will defending teams set equal spacing across the whole pitch and rush or will the kick chaser try to shepherd teams into one area?

Attacking-wise, you’re going to want to develop your open field running and pass catch skills to truly take advantage of this new facet of the game.

It will be interesting to see if/how this changes teams approaches to kick off restarts as well.

Share this
Follow us