Returning from the sideline

When the ball reaches the flank and a ruck is formed, you might well need your forwards to set up another play coming back the other way. To keep the pressure on, here’s how you should do it…

When the ball is recycled near the touchline, the defence is often spread out to defend the ball coming back infield. Exploit possible gaps and reduce the defensive line speed with this play.

  1. Set up three forwards in a prone position, a 9 and 10, and four ruck-pad holders.
  2. When you shout “play”, the 9 runs to a tackle tube near the side of the pitch.
  3. At the same time, the forwards stand up and get into a position to receive a pass from the 9.
  4. The 10 stands behind the forwards and the pad holders spread out to defend.

  1. The 9 runs and passes to the forwards, who are staggered so they can all receive a pass.
  2. The 9 runs before passing in order to draw the inside defenders up, and so stop them drifting.

  1. The forwards aim to either break through the ruck-pad defence using footwork, angles and short passes, or pass behind to the 10.
  2. If they take significant contact from the ruck pads, they should go to ground and recycle the ball for one more phase.


  • Change angles before receiving the ball to pull defenders out of position.
  • 10 should stay connected to the forwards in case they break through.
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