Rugby jink sidestep

Know how and why the rugby jink sidestep works. Understand how you beat opponents with this terrific rugby skill.


What's a jink?

It appears to have survived better than other sidesteps, maybe because it`s easier to do - but not necessarily easier to do well.

As usual, Welsh players spring to mind when you think about jinks.

They call players who do it "jinkers".

They tend to be done at a slower space than other sidesteps. You spring sideways or even backwards to avoid opponents.

To see a superb example of what can be done... Shane Williams jinking - sorry this link no longer available but try and see it - it's great.

It`s Ospreys v Saracens Heineken Cup, April 2008

From the time he gets the ball to being put on the floor, he avoids being tackled by about 10 players!

That`s fantastic skill, guts and determination.

Watch a few times.

His team is losing, down 19 - 10 and it`s the 79th minute!

What an example, follow him - it`s never over til it`s over!

You'll feel your body twitching as you learn from just watching!

You want to beat players using a rugby jink

So you have to make them think you're going to do one thing, then surprise them.

Help your oppenents feel confident they can intercept and tackle you.

Then don't turn up to be tackled - go somewhere else!

That`s what you do when you jink.

Jink setup

It's good in many situations. Ball carrier and tackler can be converging at many angles and this type of sidestep would be effective.

That`s because you are not necessarily trying to go past them at speed. You simply want to avoid them. Prevent them from tackling you.

Here`s an example...

You're the ball carrier. You've spied out the land. You must get past "tackler". There`s more defence to your left and right.

Best solution is to go through the postion that "tackler" defends.

For Jonah Lomu (and look-alikes) that`s not a problem.

For the rest of us...well, you`ve got to be creative!

Rugby jink sidestep setup Jink sidestep setup

You`ve got to persuade "tackler" to go somewhere else so you can run through that space. Yes! I agree, having a quick chat is not an option!

You`ve got to persuade them by just using body language.

For the example above, here are some tips. Experiment and practice.

  • head just to their right, you`re going to barge past
  • they hold their ground, thinking they`ll lunge and get you
  • they`re convinced - at the right moment they will go for you

  • in that instant, you will change direction
  • having got your left leg out in front, unbalanced yourself
  • with as little weight as possible on your left leg

Hint - when you are marching and you are out of step there is a way to get back into step. Find out what that is and it should help you get your left leg in the correct place and your weight distributed well for a rugby jink.

Make it a great performance. Make sure they know where you're going. Appear to be convinced you can get past.

Jink ction!

You've done a huge part of the work. The deception`s complete. They "know" where you're going. You know where they're going!

You've been assessing the situation constantly. Now it's time for a final look. There are only two real possibilities...

  • things have changed. Jinking is not an option - pass or be tackled
  • they`ve fallen for it - do it!

This, of course, is all over in a flash!

This is what it looks like...

Rugby jink sidestep action Rugby jink sidestep action

The tackler is convinced your momentum will carry you to the expected tackle location.

They're focused on getting there and putting you on the floor.

They know they must get there or you will beat them on that side - you wouldn't actually, it just looks as though you would.

What you must do is avoid them!

You'll have done it a million times before, either on the field or in practice!

Before you meet the tackler...

Bang go violently, explosively right or back and right.

They can't react, they`re flying off in the opposite direction - wondering where on earth you are!

You're in the space they used to occupy and into the next situation...

If the clip is still on YouTube you can see an example of this performed by Shane Williams in red for Wales. Sorry it`s been made private.

And how do you go bang?

Using a combination of pushing off your left leg and the uneven distribution of your weight.

I know, it's hard - if it was easy everybody would be doing it!

Experiment! Do it over and over.

You don't need cones. You can practice anywhere.

Do it free form, one after another after another!

Go through it all in your imagination any time you have a free moment - it`s just another form of practice.

Another thing - for this, legs like coiled springs are better than legs like tree trunks!

Make sure you do it well with either leg.

Maybe you would like to do this

Get going, with a different type of sidestep

STEP-BY-STEP instructions on our EvtecHs page