A good step
Rugby sidesteps - what they are. Why, where, how and when you do them.
Become a dangerous and unpredictable sidestepper!
Find out about the different sidesteps (sometimes just called steps),
how you set them up and how they fool opponents.
Select a topic or just scroll down How and when you step What are sidesteps Why you use them Where you use them Examples History
FAQ How and when you step
I was 19 and had played rugby for 7 years.
As I was a gymnast I could dodge about a bit
but was totally unaware how deceptive footwork could be so devastating.
be inspired by David Watkins the Welsh International who later
played Rugby League for Salford and Great Britain.
I saw him create some
magical deception to avoid being tackled.
I experimented, practiced, played a lot and ended up being
able to do some clever things myself.
The ability to avoid being tackled is really
part of the basics.
Few see it this way -
so you already have an advantage!
You too can
learn. Anytime, even if you`re new to the game.
You can take it all in at the same time. It`s just another skill!
soon as possible.
The younger you learn to sidestep, the longer
you`ll love it!.
I still run through the streets doing mine. I wait till it`s dark though.
I don`t want locking up now do I!
learn to sidestep at almost any age.
But why would you do it?
avoid being tackled!
Not to mention the excitement you create, the confidence you build and respect you earn.
You can learn these evasion techniques even if you know little about rugby.
It takes time to become an expert,
Imagine yourself with evasion skills!
Past one...past TWO!...
see it, can't you?
What a sight!
What a player!
What a feeling!
Nobody is born evasive, you need to learn.
Ready! Start your step by step
EvtecHs sidestep training.
Practice until it's instinctive, then -
in the moment, without even thinking about it,
you will truly know when to sidestep!
Return to Select a topic Sidesteps What are they
Sidesteps are magic tricks performed on a rugby pitch.
Just like other magic tricks many sidesteps are pretty poor, most people can see
what's happening so they barely fool anybody.
Others are brilliant because they work most times, fool nearly everyone
and few can work out what really happened.
It's all about the quality of the trick and the skill of the performer.
The magic tricks called sidesteps are all about using your knowledge, skill and agility to avoid being tackled.
Especially when beating defenders!
You make opponents believe you will be in a certain position on the field at a certain time.
They are eager to know this because it means they can meet you there and put you on the floor!
Without letting them know you then make sure you go somewhere else, leaving them no time
Return to Select a topic Why you use them You score more tries
You score more tries, get more points, win more games by moving
the ball past the defence.
You have two main
Kick the ball - easy, but you lose control
Carry the ball - hard, but you keep control
So it`s usually
best to carry the ball but
it's harder for you, the ball carrier, because they tackle you.
They throw you on the ground!
sidestep you make it more difficult for them to tackle you.
You have options others don`t even know exist.
You do things others believe impossible.
You cause chaos and confusion
Swift passing and planned moves are good but with sidesteps
you are very
unpredictable. You make them very wary.
They worry about what you might do.
They hang back, waiting, trying to read you.
So you have more space and time and even
more options and opportunities!
Sometimes defenders rush up to tackle you and close down your options.
This is an ideal time to
use sidesteps to evade tacklers.
You give the opposition much more to think about.
you going, what will you do next, who should tackle you?
create confusion in the defence.
Sidestepping when the defence is disorganised (broken play) is even
see weakness, switch direction, take advantage
OR switch direction, create weakness, take advantage
result - chaos in defence, you or support
You create chaos and opportunities for yourself and supporting players.
You beat and baffle opponents!
get out of impossible situations
attack through invisible gaps
create space or gaps by manipulating opponents
exhilerating for you
Devastating and demoralising for the opposition
Inspiring and encouraging for the team
Entertaining and exciting for anyone watching
Evade the opposition in a flash!
It`s how some famous players become famous! You create an 'edge'
Players....clubs...states within countries....countries...
You can divide them into two groups....
older, more established, less flexible, everything to lose
newer, up and coming, more flexible, nothing to lose
The older, more established know they are doing something right or they
wouldn`t be where they are today - so, perhaps the thinking tends to be
"if it ain`t broke, don`t fix it!"
The newer, up and coming know they need something special, an edge, to make
significant headway - but what - "we`ll try anything!"
Looking for something special - it`s the sidestep!
As an individual, learn to sidestep and you will
As a club or country, create a nucleus of players who can sidestep and
you have the potential to rocket up the rankings over time.
But this is really just my
dream - except for you as an individual.
do it yourself. Nobody is going to organise it for you
It's all about being able to
read the game and react in the moment.
Return to Select a topic Where you use them
This is best covered by exploring the different types of sidestep.
First of all
take in a few essentials.
Then watch this light-hearted video introduction to types of sidesteps.
Light-hearted yes, but the skills involved are
The video includes a number of different sidesteps.
Use these skills and
you are a game-breaker.
There are so many variations. It's so hard to describe them so we just call them
Anywhere, anytime. Players cleverly
evading each other. You often need a slow motion replay to see them!
That's all part of the magic. It's over in a flash. We just say
steps off his/her left
or simply, "Brilliant"
Here are some
examples of sidesteps in actual games.
It's hard to give players' sidestepping actions clearcut names.
I'll identify some typical sidesteps.
Expect variations rather than exactly these actions.
Classic example, effective and damaging
Very good, EFFECTIVE AND DAMAGING type of sidestep.
See what your opponent sees with this
classic sidestep video clip.
Game-time views of classic sidesteps are hard to view freely
(because of copyright laws) but you will see one here at
the classic sidestep
where the sidestepper cuts inside the opponent. Modern example - ok
Sidesteps have changed since the old days.
Changed, but not improved.
Unlike many rugby skills, the sidestep is in poor shape.
the modern sidestep
where the sidestepper cuts inside the opponent. Jinking
You can also move sharply sideways or even backwards
when you evade would-be tacklers at slightly slower pace.
It's been called a sidestep. It's been called a jink.
I'm using both names just to be sure!
The rugby jink sidestep
practice enough and it becomes instinctive. Bunny hops, leg waggles, two footed
There are plenty of other ways to evade tacklers. Some players appear to have
ability but are unable to reproduce sidesteps which beat opponents consistently.
The attempts appear to be created in the moment or are attempts to copy others.
These attempted steps tend to have a very low (close to zero!) success rate.
In this category are bunny hops, general leg waggles and two-footed sidesteps.
They sometimes work but are too varied and ineffective to include.
Return to Select a topic Examples
Examples of sidesteps are dotted about the site. Here are a few more!
The players I have in mind include
All these players have shown they are capable of some dazzling footwork.
Of course that is nothing in itself, but I`m sure they have other teams thinking!
Have a look at the Reds (on YouTube) Great stuff!!
(including a great sidestep not even mentioned!)
Ken Wright who played Union and League in the 1970s.
See an excellent example
of his sidestepping ability
in the 3rd Test against The All Blacks in 1978.
Find this on the excellent rugby
DVD "Rugby in the 70s"
my dvd player showed it at 2:6: 42:30
Hipwell gathers an awkward ball from a line-out.
He passes, missing out five-eigth Tony Melrose,
the ball going straight to
inside centre Ken Wright.
Wright`s fantastic sidestep takes him in behind
the All Blacks defence
and he races across field before
Greg Cornelsen goes in at the corner,
getting his third try of four tries for the day
in a memorable win for the Australian Rugby team.
they seek him here, they seek him there -
it seemed to be so hard to catch
the amazingly elusive rugby winger
David Campese Australian sidestep practice
The dark arts
of the rugby sidestep are being kept alive
by dedicated practioners
in secret locations.
Note - the sounds on the video are Australian Kookaburras,
New Zealand sidesteps
New Zealand is a great example for both quality and quantity of sidesteps
captured on camera in high level games.
But where do they come from? That`s a difficult question!
Of course, beating opponents one-on-one is an extremely important part of
the game. Especially (but not only!) in the backs - so evasive skills should
But it`s not of supreme importance if your team wins most games anyway with
stratagies which require little use of the backs - which was the chosen way in
the past, especially in NZ.
So, there is a bit of a tradition to use the sidestep, but nowhere near as
strong as in Wales.
Having read a number of books on the subject, it is clear to me that a number
of top New Zealand players had real sidestepping skills when sidesteps
were beginning to boom.
They were excellent sidesteppers. They could describe how they did it -
many sidesteppers can`t do that.
the outstanding sidestepper Bryan Williams.
Return to Select a topic History
The earliest reference I've seen to sidesteps mentions the year 1930.
Documentary evidence suggests they were already part of the game at that time.
Mention of players like Bleddyn Williams and Peter Jackson using sidesteps
comes later. These
early sidesteps and rugby pioneers
give some clues about the origin of the sidestep. Boom
The sidesteps boom came in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's.
The boom was mainly driven by Welsh rugby players but also included a
scattering of players from other nations.
Want to know more and sidestep well?
Chase down video of these players and find out what lesson there is to
learn from the period when
sidesteps boom. Bust?
As coaching took hold of the rugby world, more and more effort was placed
on creating solid defence. Fewer sidesteps are seen.
It became so bad that an article in the The Independent newspaper,
in November 1999 claimed " The sidestep passes into history..."
sidestep passes into history, does it?
........Over my dead...... leg - don't want to go too far now, do we!
I've been pretty close a couple of times already!
They hang on!
The good news is that the sidestep is avoiding extinction!
There is interest from around the world. This site caters for people new
to rugby as well as for those who already know about the sidestep.
That's great - you'll learn the sidestep with all the other basic skills.
Sidesteps on tape and DVD
Get the cheap video tape and
play spot the sidestep
Get a cheap DVD and enjoy some great
Welsh rugby sidesteps.
Return to Select a topic Frequently asked questions
- What are rugby sidesteps? You beat players with clever footwork.
- Why do they say sidesteps are exciting ? Because it`s true!
- What do they look like? Fantastic! See video clips on this site.
- Done in a flash , but talked about for years? It`s true!
- What rules relate to rugby sidesteps ? Just the basic rules.
- Where can you do a sidestep? Anywhere! Not just on the field.
More quick questions
- Which players do them? Players in any of the rugby positions can.
- Me, produce something from nothing with a sidestep? Absolutely!
- I`m new, help? Learn the basic rules then the clver footwork!
- What do I need? Strong legs, strong ankles, believe it`s possible.
- Where can I see a sidestep? Look for good rugby videos.
- Can I get a sidestep? Yes! You can do it on this site .
And some more!
- More than one sidestep? Sort of, there are a few variations.
- Could I be a sidestep sensation? You`ve got to believe it, practice!
- Is it easy to do sidesteps? It`s easier than many think it is .
- Still talking about sidesteps 30 years later? True! See rugby clips.
- Have fun with sidesteps? Certainly! For the rest of your life!
- Am I young enough/old enough to learn? Probably, if you think so!
Return to Select a topic