Kicking in rugby can be used as a defensive or an attacking tactic, depending on the situation. It is a good way to clear the danger if the team is under pressure. However, with a good kick over the top of the opposition they can be the team under pressure. We explain seven different kicking techniques a player may use in a competitive game situation.
Place kicks are used for conversions or for penalty kicks which are usually aimed at the goal or the touchline. Here we demonstrate a good technique for taking a place kick.
The place kick is used to start the game, for a conversion attempt after a try, and for a penalty kick. With this kick players use a tee to hold the ball up off the ground to help make better contact with the ball, increasing their accuracy and points score. All teams have a placekicker, but the angle of the ball on the tee, and run up varies greatly from player to player.
Description: Kickers tee the ball up at their preferred angle (start with it upright, first-time kickers). Look at the posts and take the wind into account when lining up for the kick. Once kickers are lined up and ready they should keep their eyes on the ball. Place the non-kicking foot beside the ball and the kicking foot behind it, then take around 5 steps straight back and 2 to the side of the non-kicking foot. This will vary for each player, everyone needs to find a position comfortable for them.
Move towards the ball, and place the non-kicking foot back beside the ball where it started. Keep the head down looking at the ball, with the non-kicking sidearm out horizontally for balance. Extend the kicking leg through the ball, pointing at the posts on the follow-through. Do not watch the ball as it leaves the foot, but keep the head down until a few seconds after the kick.
A dropkick is performed either to attempt a drop goal if within range or to restart the game from the centre spot following a try scored. The aim is to drop the ball on its end so it bounces straight back up to be kicked.
Description: Before kicking the ballplayers have to decide where they want the ball to land. They should point their body and the ball towards the target and then keep their eyes fixed firmly on the ball. Hold the ball at arm’s length, in the kicking side hand (right hand for a right-footer), at waist height, and at a 45-degree angle.
When dropping the ballpoint the toes down, make contact with the centre of the ball, above the boot laces, and accelerate through the ball.
Keep the head down, with the body over the ball, pointing toes up on the follow-through. The drop kick is used to score drop goals when the opportunity arises.
The ‘Aussie rules’ type punt kick is used to kick to touch or as a clearing kick to get the ball out of a dangerous situation, particularly in your own 22.
Up and Under Kick
The aim of the up-and-under kick is to try and kick underneath the ball and to get as much height as possible. The ball should rotate end over end and allow your players as much time as possible to get underneath it.
Explanation: Kicking in rugby can be used as a defensive or an attacking tactic, depending on the situation. It is a good way to clear the danger if the team is under pressure. However with a good kick over the top of the opposition they can be the team under pressure.
The torpedo kick is used mainly for clearance or to kick for touch. The aim is to strike the ball with the outside of the foot and so create spin which should help it fly further.
Description: The ball should be held downwards at a 45-degree angle away from the kicking foot. You should kick the ball on the side making it spiral with the outside of your foot making it spin like a torpedo.
The grubber kick is very much used as an attacking move as it involves the ball being kicked along the ground, through a defensive gap. The shape of the rugby ball means this kick can bounce in any direction making it difficult for a defender to pick up.
Description: When thinking of using a grubber kick the kicker should select a target, often a gap in the defence. After deciding where to kick the ball, it is then very important that the kicker’s eyes stay focused on it. The kicker should lean forward so that their head is comfortably over the ball. Hold the ball vertically with the hands across the seams.
The kicker then drops the ball, and points their toes towards the ground, keeping the knee bent and over the ball. Strike the upper half of the ball, with the laces, just before it bounces. Extend the leg through to a low, straight position, this should send the ball along the ground.
The aim of the chip kick is to kick the ball over an opponent’s head, run past and catch it yourself. The ball should rotate backward end over end with just enough height to give the kicker time to run around and catch it.
Explanation: The Chip Kick can be used to chip over defences when in a one v one situation.
Description: The ball should be placed on the foot. It should then be kicked so the ball travels end over end. This is so if the ball does bounce then it usually bounces towards the kicker.