Dummy pass

The dummy pass is an individual attacking play, valuable for evasion. Use it to break through defences. Using mind power you make opposing rugby players stand aside.


Good handling skills are what you need to start with. It`s well worth it. Make sure you have them.

Rugby passing basics are also vital.

Why "sell a dummy"

Because you create an advantage.

In writing about this pass I have had to think about this term. In rugby it`s called "selling a dummy".

In the old days shopkeepers used to display stuff in the window. To reduce the costs of holding stock they had "dummy" items.

Things that were relatively cheap and easy to make look like the real thing but if examined closely were obviously not the real thing.

Perhaps some people ended up buying dummies!

That is what this pass is all about. You convince your opponent (you sell it) they are seeing the real thing (they buy it).

How to make a dummy pass

Dummy pass of a rugby ball starting position Dummy pass, start

The dummy pass is all about deception.

Many types of pass are suitable as the basis for a dummy.

There are several important aspects usefulness, persuasion and timing.


To make it worth while to try and "sell a dummy" there must be the potential for you to create an advantage with the ploy.

Keep it as a surprise package where beating your opponent would result in a significant advantage.

Persuasion with body language

This is very much about body language. You convince your opponent you are about to pass and then keep the ball.

Some players can make their opponents believe something unbelievable like, say, pretending to pass to a position where there is no supporting player - passing to thin air!

That`s for when you are highly skilled!

It`s useful if you have completed a similar, non-dummy pass previously against the same opponent. They will think they know what is about to happen.

The more preparation the pass involves the more time you have to convince that it will take place.

Make clear, perhaps extravagent movements with your arms.

Maybe "wind up" for a long, powerful pass and move the ball towards the target.

It looks like the ball is actually on the way to your support player.

Remember the tackler is under great pressure.

They may even, unconciously, be looking for a good excuse or reason to avoid making the tackle.

Why make a tackle that doesn`t have to be made!

Help them make the right decision. Right for you, wrong for them!

The swing pass is a good example. because you put in some time and effort to make the pass.

Just before you release the ball you are in a precarious looking, apparently vulnerable position.

Actually you are well balanced and your body naturally moves away from the direction of the pass, putting you in the space between defenders.


You have to get the timing right. It`s vital.

Make the pass early enough to avoid crashing into your opponent yet late enough to give them no time to react.

A dummy pass is great attacking play

Your opponent is utterly convinced the pass is being made.

They think there is no point tackling you as the ball has gone.

Instead they can see they have an advantage.

They move in the direction of the dummy pass to intercept the pass or to get an early start tackling the perceived receiver of the ball.

This is particularly true in a two-on-one situation when you have received the ball a little late with little time to pass.

The two of you have an advantage over your single opponent but if you pass there is a real threat of an intercept.

With more time it may be better to draw the player to you and pass to your unmarked support.

In the situation with little time maybe it`s better to dummy. You would be certain there was no intercept and if the dummy did not work you still have the ball.

Main points

  • short to medium pass
  • suitable for all players
  • timing of the pass is critical

  • lay it on thickly, be convincing
  • make the ball look as though it is moving to the target

Make sure you master the passes you can most easily turn into a dummy. Follow the link below to more passes.