Grubber kicks

There are two grubber kicks. Bouncing grubbers bounce up, so you easily regather. Rolling grubbers roll, so you easily touch them down and score tries.


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Bouncing kick

Rolling kick

Grubber kicking basics

Be sure you have good handling skills (see Core skills)

and you know your rugby kicking basics.

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Bouncing grubber kick, rugby attacking play

It`s a good attacking ploy in the opposition half of the field.

You would normally carry the ball into and against the opposition.

Sometimes problems arise and the ball cannot easily be carried.

Or an opportunity arises to make ground rapidly by using a kick.

Say the opposing wing and centre have moved up quickly to smother your attack by making it difficult to run and pass to your outside backs.

This kick would be useful. By moving up quickly the opposition players would have left undefended ground behind them.

You put in an angled bouncing grubber kick.

You send it spearing through their defensive line rolling and bouncing into the undefended ground in front of the fullback.

Timing their runs well, your outside backs race past the advancing opposition.

They gather the ball well at one of the bounces and race away towards a two-on-one encounter with the opposition fullback.

You can also use a bouncing grubber for a long kick for touch from outside your 22 area when the ball needs to bounce before crossing the touch line.

It can be very useful.

How you kick it

A rugby ball will roll end-over-end keeping low some of the time and bouncing up from time to time.

So you kick the ball to make it do this.

Bouncing grubber kick of a rugby ball starting position Bouncing grubber, start

Bouncing grubber kick of a rugby ball in progress ... in progress

Hold the ball in two hands, ball pointing away and slightly downwards.

One hand spread over the ball, one hand below

Arm bent slightly, ball around waist height, remove lifting hand from under the ball.

As you are stepping into the kick, the ball drops down to where it will connect with your foot, coming through to kick.

Your foot meets the ball just above the ground and Pow!

Slightly bent legged, toes pointed. You firmly strike the ball with the boney top part of your foot.

You strike the ball slightly above halfway up the ball. This sets the ball rotating forwards. Keep your knee forward to keep the ball low.

How hard you hit the ball depends on how far you want it to travel.

Follow through keeping your knee high and toes pointed.

You can vary how the ball behaves by varying where it first hits the ground.

Hitting the ground close to you would tend to make it a short high bouncing kick.

Hitting the ground further away from you would tend to make it a longer rolling kick with a few bounces.

Practice this kick, experiment

Practice frequently.

Use two balls. One to practice the kick, the other as a target

Use any method to move one ball 20 to 35 metres. This is your target.

Now use use a bouncing grubber kick to put the rugby ball close to or past the first one.

It doesn`t have to stop at the target, just going past close bye is good.

Your main aim is to get the ball rolling end-over-end and rearing up from time to time - which makes it easy for chasers to gather at full speed.

When you get near the target you know you're kicking well.

Main points

  • practice handling the ball, 'shaping to kick', so you do it well
  • rather than tossing or dropping the ball, place it on your foot

  • ball lengthways, in line with pointing foot
  • knee forward, toes pointed downwards

Make sure you can do the rolling grubber as well. there are many parts of these two kicks which are the same but they produce vastly different ball behaviour and are for very different purposes.

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Rolling grubber kick, try scoring play

The rolling grubber kick is a handy kick in rugby. You use this for short kicks past defenders into the in-goal area.

It travels a fairly straight path, when you have mastered the kick. Because you make it roll, you easily ground it for a try.

When you use this kick

This kick is a good attacking ploy close to the opposition try-line.

You normally carry the ball into the in-goal and ground it for a try.

Sometimes problems arise and the ball cannot easily be carried in.

Too many defenders facing you, the ball carrier. One more pass required but your support is too far away or similar problems.

Instead, a fairly short rolling grubber kick is put past a defender or through a gap between defenders.

You often kick at an angle across the field, especially if it is for other players to run on to and ground.

It could perhaps be used further out from the goal-line but would be difficult to pick up at pace and would probably need to be hacked on at the feet of attacking players.

How you kick it

A rugby ball rolls like a round ball when rolling on the short circumference rather than end over end.

So you kick the ball to make it roll like that.

Rolling grubber kick of a rugby ball starting position Rolling grubber, start

Rolling grubber kick of a rugby ball finishing position Rolling grubber, finish

You hold the ball level. One hand above, fingertips spread along the seam, one below.

You have the ball at bent arm`s length, around waist height, then remove your lifting hand from under the ball.

The ball drops down to your foot in perfect position..

Step into the kick and "Thwack", give it just the right amount of boot to roll the required distance.

Your leg is slightly bent, toes pointed

You keep your knee forward, slightly over the ball to keep the ball low.

Follow through keeping your knee high and toes pointed. This is for accuracy and to be sure the ball rolls off your foot.

To practice ths kick

Use two balls when you practice. You have to have a rugby ball, but the other could be a football (soccer) or say, a tennis ball.

Use any method to get your other ball 10 to 20 metres away to use as a target.

Then use a rolling grubber kick to put your rugby ball as close as you can to the target ball.

When you kick well the ball would cross the goal-line. If not, it would have to be picked up and carried over the line rather than just touching down.

Picking up at speed is an added complication and you risk "knocking on". It`s much better when you kick accurately.

Practice so you control the ball. It stops where you want it to. Too far, it would go over the dead ball line and a try could not be scored.

Using two balls allows you to know when you are accurate and also when you get the distance right.

You can also perform this kick with the inside of your foot

Major points

  • handle well
  • position the ball accurately on your boot
  • ball level, one point on either side of your foot

  • knee over the ball, toes pointed downwards
  • you can also kick with the inside of your foot
  • foot strikes centre of ball

See a good example at 1m 11s in this Youtube clip.

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Look out for chances to master other kicks. Having a variety of kicks available is important when you play good rugby.