Kicking tactics have changed. With more players in the backfield covering kicks, you now need to savvier with your kicking game. A kicking game is still a key way to jumble up defences. However, defences are staying out of rucks and spreading across the field, thus allowing more players in the backfield. With more players behind the first line of defence, there is less space to kick to. These two factors have meant that kicking has to be more accurate. We cannot get away with kicking the ball long without an excellent chase. We have to think about where we are kicking. MORE
VIDEO ANALYSIS: Punt long, chase hard
You need to plan your kicking so the chasing players know their roles. This is important when exiting your 22m area. Here are two kick-chase plans.
If we intend to feature the kicking game strongly in our planning, it’s vital that it is properly organised, especially when exiting from inside our own third of the field. This means primarily not exposing our forwards to mismatches with opposing backs because they are chasing on the wrong side.
The basic principles are illustrated in the following two examples from kick-offs during France’s Autumn International series in 2012.
Kick to the forwards’ side
In the first clip, the Argentinean forwards receive the ball from a France kick-off and set up the platform for their 9 to launch a long, high kick. It is important that the trajectory of the kick stays parallel to the near touchline.
If the kick goes into midfield it would give the opposition backs a head start in their counter and a better chance of getting a 1v1 out towards the far touch line. The parallel kick means the chasing Puma forwards defend the congested “short area” where the ball lands [14:40].
The width of the field is defended by the faster Argentina backs, and when France attempt to move the ball they are taken comfortably by the defensive drift [14:52].
Re-organise to get your backs to the open-side
In the second clip, Australia kicks off to the side defended by the French backs. If the French 9 launches a kick immediately down the near touchline from the catch as in the Argentina game, the Wallabies would have the width of the field to attack the French forwards, who would be defending the open side.
Therefore, France throws in a couple of preparatory phases to buy some time and move their forwards across to the near side.
Once their backs are positioned on the open side, the 9 launches the high kick to halfway. This proves to be a wise decision, because the Wallaby backs look dangerous on the counter-attack!