Rugby attack

Rugby attack - when you get the ball you must attack and score tries. Know how you support the ball carrier and create uneven contests.

When you're on the attack

Control the ball

Your team must control the ball - a major part of attack.

You control the ball when you

  • carry the ball, running or walking - you must be on your feet Note: You`re allowed to walk but I don`t advise it - if you find you`re holding the ball GET RUNNING!

  • hand it to a team-mate (never forwards from your position)

  • pass it(controlled throw) to a team-mate(again, never forwards)

You may also kick the ball in any direction, including forwards but doing that will probably give away control of the ball to the opposition.

Forget about kicking till you know more about how to play.

Support the ball carrier

A good rule of thumb...

Until you are confident you know how to play rugby, wherever the ball goes when your team has possession think about being available to support the ball carrier

  • imagine a line passing through the ball that goes from one side of the field to the other (like the half way line does)

  • stay behind or get behind that line and you will be available to support the ball carrier or receive the ball from a pass or kick

Continually think of your alignment in relation to the ball carrier and any players in between. Work hard to be avilable when needed.

If you are ahead of the ball carrier when they are ready to pass, you are unable to support them.

The ball tends to be passed along a line of players. If you are ahead of a player who may receive the ball before you must get back so you will be available if they get the ball.

Play may break down, giving the opposition the opportunity to get possession of the ball.

So, as soon as possible make sure you are available to receive a pass.

Never wait for play to catch up to you. It may not happen. Run back to a position where you can be useful.

When you do get in position, make sure you have enough room to get upto speed. If you receive the ball when you are flat footed or stationary you are much easier to tackle. Receive the ball at speed and you are difficult to stop.

Some other rules of thumb when carrying the ball in a rugby attack

  • run straight (parallel with the touch lines) - this rapidly moves the ball towards the opposition goal-line

  • run hard - it`s more difficult to stop you!

  • learn how to sidestep - avoid tacklers, get past players and through gaps between players

  • if you can`t beat the opposition players make them commit to tackling you - so they aren`t available to tackle team-mates you pass to

  • avoid getting isolated, strength in numbers - remember if tackled you must let go of the ball. You need support or they get passession.

  • sidestep - yes it`s here twice! - beating defenders is a vital part of winning rugby matches

  • use support players - you`re a team, many hands make light work. Make tacklers commit to tackling you as you get your pass away, then they can`t slide over to tackle the pass receiver.

Create uneven contests

The differences in things like

  • size, strength and endurance
  • speed, acceleration and athletic ability
  • vision, knowledge, skill and positional play

between the players in the two teams result in uneven contests. Players who find themselves facing each other in defence and attack have varying amounts of all these assets.

Look for these uneven contests or try and create them so you can take advantage

  • a big ball carrier facing a small defender
  • a fast attacker against a slower defender
  • a darting, sidestepping player against anyone! (I'm biased!)


  • a support player running at a good angle into a gap
  • unequal numbers of attackers v defenders, where passing quickly and skillfully will create an overlap

Put that together with all the shouting, running, falling, tackling and pushing and it`s pretty chaotic in a rugby attack.

Use your excellent skills including vision

Keep surveying the whole scene - it`s vital

You must see where everyone is NOW

  • know where they`re going
  • know where they`re NOT going!

Train your vision.

One player looking at a group of moving players will see all the players and keep track of them.

Another player will see all that and something else - all the gaps between the players. Which one is biggest? Which one is opening? Which is closing?

I imagine it takes a whole lot more processing power. Maybe you have the capacity and you are able to do it when your other skills are instinctive because you have practiced enough.

As you attack, your team must find or create uneven contests and take advantage of them, break through with the ball and score!

Make sure you have good skills so you run, pass and catch well and you deal well with any situation. You can find more on this in the skills section of the menu.

When your coach introduces attacking plays you will find it easy to adapt and do well.

Make yourself INvaluable in attack - make sure you can sidestep