Normal pass

The normal pass is an essential part of rugby. It is for fairly short, fast passes that easily find their target and are easy for support players to catch.


This pass is used frequently in rugby.

It is useful in a huge range of situations during the normal course of a game and used by both forwards and backs.

You enjoy the game much more and you are confident when you have really good handling skills. You'll find out more on this in the core skills section.

How to make a basic, normal pass in rugby

Hold the ball in two hands.

The "cage grip" (see handling skills page for details) is the best way to hold the ball for this pass.

Normal pass or basic pass of a rugby ball, start Normal pass, start

Normal pass or basic pass of a rugby ball, finish Normal pass, finish

You usually allow your body to twist at the hips so it faces your target.

The more you are able to twist, the more you will be able to see sideways.

The more you can see sideways the more it is likeky you will pass well.

This improves your accuracy and presents different parts of your body to tacklers, protecting your softer bits!

Aim to have a high arm action when passing.

Presenting as much boney material to the would-be-tackler helps to deter them from clattering into you.

A high, wide lift also gives you more power for a longer pass.

Normal passing action

You start the pass by pulling your arms to one side.

Pull your leading elbow up high to the side of your body. You other arm will be almost parallel with the ground.

The further you pull your arms sideways, the more powerful your pass.

Quickly swing the ball in the direction of your target and let go.

I also turn one leg towards the target (the leg nearest the target). This gives you added stability, balance and more power.

What you do with your fingers makes a difference.

Experiment. You can make the ball travel point first or upright.

To make the ball travel upright

If you hold the ball upright and flick it with your fingers as you release it, you can make it travel upright.

It will be easier to catch because it doesn't tumble and can easily be caught one handed, It's maybe slightly slower than passes traveling point first.

When you have a good arm action it can also be useful in convincing opponents you are about to pass. Then take advantage by turning it into a dummy pass or perhaps a chip and chase kick.

Basic pass summary

The longer your intended pass the more important it is you have upper body strength, general co-ordination and good technique.

Some points to remember for the normal or basic rugby pass

  • short to medium pass
  • suitable for all players
  • time your pass well so it's not affected by the tackle

  • vizualise where you want the ball to go
  • continue arm and finger movement, 'follow' the ball
  • if your intended receiver is moving, your target is the space out in front of them, for them to run on to

Also very important - you want the right tool for the job. Have a complete toolbox of rugby passes when you follow the link below. You are learning to pass. You can also learn to sidestep as well.