If you concede a score, why not put the pressure back on the opposition immediately by winning the kick? Here’s how the top teams achieve this.
WHY IS A CONTESTABLE KICK-OFF IMPORTANT?
Winning back the kick is a chance to get the ball back immediately and attack against a disorganised and unstable defence. It is essentially turnover ball and another set piece play to dominate.
With the set up outlined below, it means that if the ball is regathered from the kick–off, the attack will naturally have width and can exploit any space or mismatches immediately.
If ball is not regathered, the full width of the pitch is covered in defence with the front 5 (slower players) protected in the middle of the defensive line with the back row and centres outside them (quicker players).
11 and 4 compete for the ball
12 and 6 will track to re-gather any knock downs
10, 15 and 14 will fill the backfield for kick return opportunities
KICK OFF 2
15 and 7 compete for the ball
9, 1, 3 and 2 track to re-gather any knock downs
10, 11 and 14 will fill the backfield for kick return opportunities
KICK OFF 3
14 and 8 compete for the ball
13 and 5 will track to regather any knock downs
10, 15 and 11 will fill the backfield for kick return opportunities
Drop kicks for 1 and 3 need to have a flatter trajectory for the wide players (11/4 and 14/8) to attack from out to in to have an advantage over the stationary opposition.
Drop kicks for 1 and 3 are also the most difficult to execute and require deliberate practice because there is little room for error. You have the danger of the 10m line and the touchline that will give the opposition either an attacking midfield scrum or a lineout if it fails to travel 10 metres or lands directly in touch.
The drop kick for 2 needs to lofted with enough hang time for 15 and 7 to attack.
The players in the roles of 11/4, 14/8 and 15/7 can change depending on the specific skill-set of your individuals in your team.
Place 9 centrally behind the kicker so the opposition cannot easily read which one of the three kick-off options the team might use at any given point.
WHEN SHOULD A CONTESTABLE KICK-OFF POTENTIALLY NOT BE USED?
If your kicker cannot be consistently accurate with the shorter kicks you run the risk of the ball not travelling over the 10m line which will possibly result in an opposition attacking midfield scrum back on the halfway line.
If you are defending a narrow lead with the game nearly over, a deeper kick-off for territory will be more beneficial giving the opposition more distance to your try-line to score a try or kick a penalty.
Through analysis, you might be aware that if you kick-off deep into the opposition’s 22 they might normally kick the ball back. This might be deep or into touch immediately giving you a kick return or lineout opportunity to exploit.
Eamonn Hogan chats with World Cup winning Graham Smith about the modern scrum. Graham, who is a level 5 coach, coached England Women to a World Cup in 2014 and six Grand Slams. He has coached with the Worcester Academy, CN Poble Nou in Spain, Stoke and Moseley RFC. Graham and Eamonn cover the following... MORE
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