Rugby timing

Rugby timing is the knack of being in the right place at the right time on the rugby field. You develop this skill by reading the game.

Good timing

Speed and accelleration are good

Having a blistering speed is very handy (but not essential).

Having searing accelleration is great, (but not everything).

It's very much about using what speed and accelleration you do have at just the right moment

Christian Cullen - master of timing

Watch Christian Cullen, legendary New Zealand Rugby All Blacks player.

Speed, yes!

Accelleration, yes!

Elusive, yes!

AND oh what fantastic timing!!!

Watch him closely as he bags loads of tries!

If you can`t play the video below look on YouTube for Christian Cullen.

Or look for footage of the Barbarians game when Gareth Edwards steams onto a pass with perfect timing - you`ll find it here.

Right place, right time.

Follow his example.

Exquisite rugby timing!

and some great sidesteps!

Fractions of time and space are important

Fractions of time and fractions of distance have a dramatic effect in games of rugby.

Arrive just a fraction

  • too early
  • too late
  • too close
  • too far away

and some good rugby play goes to waste.

Getting it right even once in a game can have spectacular results.

Inches (or centimetres!) really do matter!!

Timing is everything

You get your timing right when you start running at the right moment, and you`re able to control your speed, acceleration and direction to a high degree,

It doesn`t just happen. You have to practice.

It does not have to be rugby practice. You will find that practice at many different sports will help.

Just kicking a ball about by yourself will help.

Kick and chase. Aim to arrive close to the ball when it arrives at a certain place on the field.

Kick it in the air and aim to be where it lands on the second or third bounce. You`ll find yourself accelerating, slowing, changing angle.

Put in a few sidesteps along the way.

Use your imagination. See yourself running on to a pass, going through a gap - call for the ball. You`ve got to practice.

Just a few things like this will help you improve your rugby timing.

Small margins add up

Our brains are fantastic. We can expect to develop split second timing, given enough practice.

All the small margins add up in a game

Think of the things you can do in a game of rugby that could make a difference especially if you do them by very small margins.

  • tackle a player who looked as though they had beaten you
  • get a "miracle" ball away to a support player
  • be there in the nick of time to take a pass that looked impossible to catch
  • score a try - just getting your fingertips to the ball

Much of it comes down to timing. Timing wins games.

You may avoid being tackled - it may only be an inch that makes the difference!

That`s why sidesteps are so important. Plenty of players say "You wouldn`t beat me". What they don`t consider is, you may only be inches away from where they were expecting you - but that is often enough to leave them clutching at air!