What is an X-Ball and how could this simple play be used to breakdown an organised defence. MORE
Q: “We’re good at winning our set-piece ball but often struggle with the ensuing phase. Can you suggest a play we could run from the set piece?”
A: Dan says: Here’s a simple game plan to use from set pieces. It’s called “Creating a blindside”.
From your lineout or scrum, you attack into the midfield (see below for detail).If you don’t break the line, set up a midfield ruck. Now there are two places to attack – the open side or the blindside.
Your 9 or 10 can decide which way to play. Often the 10 is in a better position to call this. He could shout “yes” if he wants to attack the same way, or “no” if he wants to switch the play.
It depends how quickly the opposition defence get into position. However, often the slower forwards are left covering the blindside, giving you an opportunity for a mismatch.
You can develop this further. When you call the move – before you’ve even attacked the midfield to set up the initial ruck – add on the call “one” or “two”.
“One” means you’ll have just that initial ruck before the 9 or 10 chooses whether to switch back to the blindside. In other words, you run the move as described above.
“Two” means you’ll automatically play another phase, setting up a second ruck on the open side, before choosing whether to go blind.
In either case, the key element is the decision about whether to go blind or not, which hinges on whether the defenceis slow or quick in covering across.
The other advantage of this plan is that it often brings the wingers up into the defensive line, leaving more space to kick behind the line if you want.
From a scrum, use your best ball carrier (like 12 or 13) to take an angled run at the opposition 10. Ideally your back row will support him in contact. But make sure your key decision makers (like 10 or 15) areon their feet to make the next play.
You can do the same from a lineout, or use a shortened lineout and use a powerful forward to carry the ball up.
Whatever move you choose, the play should always aim to bust the line, not just set up another phase of play.