Reverse pass

The reverse pass is a fairly rare pass in rugby. Useful when a player is highly skilled, pushed for time, facing the wrong way and has a great deal of confidence.


A pass is easier when your handling skills are up to scratch and you know the rugby passing basics.

Wrong place wrong time - on the blind side

When you make a reverse pass add a good dollop of hope!

Hope that it will get you out of the crisis you are in and hope it will not create a bigger crisis for your intented receiver.

Reverse pass of a rugby ball showing starting position Reverse pass, start

Say the ball unexpectedly shot out of the scrum on the blind side.

And say you are the scrum-half and you have gone to pick it up so you are facing the wrong way.

And say all the other backs are far away on the open open side.

And say you get to the ball moments before four huge ogres appear wearing the same shirts as the opposition team.

And say they make you think you had better get rid of the ball pretty quickly.

In other words you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Then and only then you just might think of using this pass.

And even then decide it`s best not to!!

How to make a reverse pass

The image above shows the start of this pass. It`s actually a bit earlier with the ball held in two hands out in front of you.

I have probably taken my left hand off the ball too soon and the ball should be more in line with my body. But you get the idea.

The ball is supposed to be going to the same sort of area and going the same sort of distance as it would if you had time to make a ground pass or dive pass when facing in the opposite direction.

Reverse pass of a rugby ball showing finishing position Reverse pass, finish

From the start position you swiftly pull back towards yourself and finish off sweeping one arm down one side of your body.

You release the ball out of the back of your hand and the ball goes shooting towards the player you had in mind when you first had the crackpot idea of throwing the ball backwrds.

Well that`s the theory anyway!

I included the this image not because it was a great effort but because the ball is still visible and helps describe the action.

That attempt was actually too low. My better efforts tended to have a higher trajectory.

I suspect the hand holding the ball should arc down to the release point and release the ball, maybe rising slightly.

Perhaps if you practice enough you will get it right and be hailed as the next Gareth Edwards.

However, I suggest your time would be better spent if instead you learn rugby sidesteps!

Summary of main points for this pass

  • disguised long pass
  • suitable for only highly skilled player with plenty of time to practice

  • know where your target is, you cannot see them!
  • ball exits from back of hand
  • hope for success rather than expect it

Spend time on this one if you are bored. You may use it once in a lifetime. There are plenty more to learn before this one - just follow the link below.