Chip kick

The rugby chip kick is valuable. Used for short kicks over defenders into space behind them. You or other chasers run after the ball and re-gain possession.


When, where and why you use the chip kick

This kick is used both as a good attacking ploy and a means of "keeping the defence honest", making them do their job properly.

Often the defensive line rushes up, trying to restrict your time and space. To reduce your options, to force errors.

You are in a situation where you are faced by defenders who are fairly close to you and have left unguarded ground behind them.

The chip is like a mini up and under. You use it infrequently as a surprise attacking ploy.

You chip the ball over their heads and either you or other attackers running from behind you (in relation to your goal-line) run past the defenders and re-gain possession.

Used like this, you call it a "chip and chase".

The defenders are not allowed to tackle because none of the attackers is carrying the ball.

The attackers sprint past the defenders who are at a disadvantage because they have to turn and chase the ball and the attackers.

When defenders race up you use this kick to remind them that not only must they tackle you, they must also defend the whole of their territory or you will make use of it!

How to do a chip kick

You could say this is a mini up and under.

The only real difference is that the chip is a much gentler kick.

For the up and under you put in maximum power to get the ball as high as possible and as far as required.

For the chip kick you put in minimal power. Just enough to lift the ball over the defenders and far enough drop into the space behind them.

Chip kick of a rugby ball starting position Chip kick, start

Chip kick of a rugby ball finishing position Chip kick, finish

Hold the ball...

  • in both hands
  • a hand above, one below
  • level with the ground

  • across your body
  • out a bit, waist height

Gently drop the ball onto your foot as you run.

You bring your leg through. At the same time the ball arrives at foot height, Ding! you kick it.

Straight legged, toes pulled back, forming a little u-shaped cup at your ankle. You strike the ball in that little cup.

The ball rises very steeply from your boot making it difficult for defenders to charge down or interfere with the flight of the ball.

This kick is usually done while moving and so the follow through is no more than just keep moving as you were before the kick.

Use the rugby posts to practice your chip

Player practices chip kick at rugby posts Chip kick practice

Practice chipping over the crossbar of the posts.

Gently trot towards them and chip from close in.

Do it from say 10 metres out to start and gradually work closer as you become more skillful.

Make the ball rise rapidly and have a target, fairly close (10 metres) on the other side of the posts.

Doing this means you can tell exactly how much you are improving.

In extreme situations (defenders very close) turn slightly sideways or even slightly back to get the kick away.

You aim to arrive before the ball lands and take it on the full, at speed, giving the defenders you have passed little chance of catching you.

Kicking the ball as described may help you if you fail to get to the ball before it lands. Because of the way you have placed the ball for kicking, the ball may well bounce kindly for you - as it does sometimes for me.

You make your own luck!

Here`s lucky Shane Williams on YouTube...

Sorry it`s gone. It says their account was terminated for multiple copyright infringements!

Look for me doing a chip at the end of the video on the home page.

Main points

  • good rugby handling skills required for kick and the regather
  • knowing the basics of kicking will help master this kick
  • place the ball accurately for your foot to strike well

  • ball straight across your foot
  • leg straight, toes pulled up
  • regather ball, use sidesteps, beat remaining defenders

You`ll be a better player when you can do it with either foot.

When you are competant with this one, move on to the other kicks. Aim to master them over time.