Put a man in the hole

Use the receiver – that is, the player in the 9 position – to create an extra man in the lineout. Regardless of how the opposition reacts, there will always be a spare player to receive the throw.

In reduced lineouts, jumpers can move to draw their defenders – creating space at the front, rear or middle. The receiver (not necessarily the 9) then runs into the hole to take the throw. If the defenders don’t shadow the jumpers, one of these must be free to receive instead.

  1. Set up as above with the attack (blue) compressing the lineout centrally.
  2. There are three options for the play: Option 1: Both blue jumpers run forward towards the touchline.
  3. If white follow, the hooker throws long to the back for the 9 to run onto.
  4. If white don’t follow, the hooker throws flat to the unmarked jumper(s).

  1. Option 2
  2. Both blue jumpers run back towards the 15m line.
  3. If white follow, it creates a space for the 9 to run onto a throw at the front. If white don’t follow, a lob to the back secures the ball.

  1. Option 3
  2. The two blue jumpers separate, moving forward and back.
  3. If white follow both jumpers, the 9 can take a lob ball in the middle.
  4. If one or both white players don’t follow, it gives an option to the unmarked blue player(s).


Operate quickly. A fast set-up and sharp movement gives opponents no time to think. It may also wrong-foot the immediate defence (receiver and hooker).

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