Up and under
The up and under in rugby is mainly a medium length kick to apply pressure
to the opposition. You aim for great height so you and/or your
chasers can be there when it lands.
Kick it high
Basics for this kick
Aim to handle well and know your
rugby kicking basics.
Why use the up and under
You use this kick mostly to get out of difficult defensive situations and/or
where you are somewhat isolated.
Example: you have caught a high ball outside the 22 metre line, have few or no
options to pass and are faced by a number opposition players chasing the ball.
You use it less frequently in attacking situations and usually when
other options are reduced or non-existent.
Using this kick provides you with the potential to make ground rapidly
and put the defense under pressure.
You kick the ball to a great height and when it descends from the clouds
it`s difficult for defenders to catch.
This is especially true when you and your team mates are racing in to tackle!
You may also create chaos if the ball bounces, shooting off unpredictably
and possibly being mishandled by players.
How you do this kick
You may notice some similarities between this kick and the spiral punt.
Knowing one means you know a lot about the other.
Up and under, start
Hold the ball lengthways across your chest, level with the ground.
Fingertips and thumb of the top hand each along a seam.
Fingertips/thumbtip of your other hand support underneath the ball.
Lift it to just above shoulder height
and remove your hand from beneath the ball.
It's now at arms length, in perfect position for kicking.
As you position the ball you take a step with your non-kicking leg .
Up and under, finish
Guide the ball downwards to meet your foot as you take the step forward
and bring your foot through to strike the ball.
Avoid pointing your toes. Keep your toes pulled back, forming a 'U'-shaped
bend at your ankle.
As your leg comes through, aim to kick the ball with the bony mass of
the top of your foot.
BANG, up it goes!
Perfecting this kick
Up and under close-up
In the follow through ending to the kick, have a near 90 degree angle at your ankle,
toes pulled back towards you.
Doing this encourages the ball to go high rather than long
Kick in a straight towards your target.
Kick right through the ball for maximum height.
The height / length of the kick will vary
more effort, harder strike, ball travels higher, further
leg high when striking ball, ball makes steeper climb
leg low when striking ball, ball makes shallower climb
leaning back, ball stays closer; too far, ball goes backwards
leaning forwards, ball travels further rather than higher
Choose a straight line on the field and kick along it.
Decide before you kick how far you want the ball to travel.
Seeing where the ball lands in relation to the palce on the line
you were aiming for will help you improve rapidly.
First, aim to be accurate. Distance will improve over time.
Box kick is a variation, where, when, why
The box kick is used mainly by the scrum half.
You use it infrequently, but you want a complete set of kicks, don`t you?
If you`re a winger, tell your scrum half about this one!
You use it more often after a scrum, sometimes after a lineout.
Sometimes used by design, sometimes simply to get out of trouble.
The idea is you kick the ball high (but not very high) into a particular
area of opposition territory that is...
an imaginary box shaped area
immediately behind the opposition side of the scrum / lineout
extending perhaps 20 - 30 metres back from the set piece
side of the box is the touchline, you want the ball to stay in play
extending perhaps 20 - 25 metres in from touch
save this one for attacking situations, away from your 22m area
The area is sparsely defended and if the opposition is not paying attention
they can be vulnerable.
Many players will be offside when the kick is made.They must not advance or
take part in play until put onside.
If they are within 10 metres of where the ball is going to land, they
must run back towards their own goal-line until far enough away.
The player most likely to take advantage of this kick having been made,
is the winger closest to you, the kicker.
They would usually be in an onside position (behind the kicker), in a
position to see what is happening and fast enough to take advantage of
You give the ball height to give chasers enough time to get to the
ball with a chance to retrieve it or tackle anyone who catches it.
How to make a box kick
There are only small differences between the two kicks. The main difference
is that you don`t give the box kick as much height.
You`re attacking rather than trying to get out of trouble. It`s a surprise.
You want just enough time for your player to get there and as little
time as possible for defenders to respond.
For the box kick you may be under pressure, being forced sideways
or even backwards by approaching defenders or misplaced ball from
If this is the case you must simply adjust the direction of the kick
to take your position into account.
If you are facing sideways, you have to direct your kick sideways
so you make it travel in the right direction - forwards,
towards their goal-line.
Same goes for facing backwards. You simply make sure you strike the ball
when your foot is very high in the air.
You can reduce the height you have to lift your leg by leaning backwards
as you kick. This will take the ball back over your head, into the box.
you must handle the ball well
guide the ball onto your foot
ball is positioned lenthways, straight across the foot
strike with bony top of foot, toes pulled back
follow through keeping toes pulled back
Finding out about all the different kicks will help you understand the game
and help you master the positions that are best for you.
Know how you do them or know when to expect them so you will be ready.