Great four-man lineout plays

A four-man lineout gives a great chance to win the ball and then attack with support into the opposition midfield. Here are the simple options to ensure clean ball to attack with. Set up a platform and space to attack with “spare” forwards. You have five forwards involved in the lineout, so three players can be in the backline.

As with every lineout, we are trying to play into space, so the jumpers and lifters all must see how the opposition are set up and how they react before you make the call.

The opposition can be in three basic states:

1. Disorganised defence

The defenders are clearly not expecting a four-man lineout and so are adjusting while you are set up.

The simplest lineout is to go to the middle where the ball can be won easily. Then it can be launched into the midfield further from the lineout than if it was taken at the front.

2. Marked but disorganised

The defence is in place, but they are not prepared to move, or it’s clear that they don’t have lifters ready to move back or forward.

Now, front of the lineout is the safest place, because the opposition won’t follow.

3. Marked and ready to track

The defence is set and ready to move. You have to move their jumping pod forward and then throw over them. If you do, it’s harder from them to track back and so you should win clean ball.

Remember that the hooker should throw before the jumper jumps in this case, so the ball meets them at the top of the lift.

  • If opposition are not ready and not marking your jumpers
  • Front lifter moves towards the jumper.
  • 4 is lifted.

  • If opposition are marking your jumpers, but are disorganised
  • 4 moves towards front lifter.
  • 5 providing the lifting support.

  • If opposition are organised and track your jumper.
  • 4 and 5 come forward to dummy onto the front lifter.
  • 5 goes back and front lifter comes round to lift 5 in the middle
  • With 3 providing lifting support.

* Note–the further you go back the more chance there is of the opposition reacting to the movement.


  • Hooker get set as early as possible.
  • Front lifter marks the line.
  • Players arrive slightly later.
  • As soon as the “jumpers” are in the line everyone must react.
  • Do not let the opposition have time to reorganise themselves.
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