EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Options from front ball

It’s easy to think that lineout front ball is only for a catch-and-drive to clear your lines, or to attack their try line from 5m. Yet, it can be used for off-the-top and front peels. But make sure you have the basics in place first. 

OFF THE TOP FROM THE FRONT

Front ball or throwing to the number two jumper at the lineout is sometimes seen as a safe ball but not the best option when passing the ball out to the backs. The 9 has to pass further and opposition players at the back of lineout are inevitably closer to your 10 than if it was middle or back ball. 

But that needs to be weighed up with the fact that front ball is easier to win than middle or back ball. How can you balance this risk and reward?

FRONT FOR THE BACKS

There are two ways you can make front ball into the sort of the ball the backs want:

  1. The 9 needs to take the ball 8-10m in from the touchline, approximately opposite the fourth or fifth player in the lineout. They have to take it so their momentum is towards the intended pass, which is your 10. 
  2. It is the lineout jumper’s responsibility at 2 to deliver the ball accurately to the 9. To achieve this they have to twist in the air once they have received the ball and then drop it into the path of the 9. 

TRAINING

  1. Work on the first jumper twisting by themselves. 
  2. Starting on their knees, they kneel square to the thrower.
  3. The thrower, who’s also on their knees, throws in. 
  4. The jumper takes the ball above their head, twists their torso and shoulders to deliver the ball with one hand as far “back”” as they can. 
  5. This can be progressed to standing and then working in a pod with their lifters. 
  6. Finally, it is done under pressure from the opposition. 

Aim to get the process sharp, with an accurate throw to the jumper, then an accurate hard and flat delivery to the halfback. They, or the 10, does not want the ball looped back because they will be pressured by opposition forwards coming through the line. 

This sort of work does not always come to fruition straight away. The players need to be comfortable with the processes involved and it takes plenty of repetition to gain the sort of sharpness we want.

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