The second in the series of 8 Steps to Make Your Lineout Work looks at Step 2 The Lineout Race.
After the call has been established, the ‘race’ can refer to a number of things and the whole lineout really is a race, the race could be strictly into the air for the jumper, or a race into position on the ground and the into the air. If we are calling the lineouts we want to make sure we are winning that race. Action versus reaction, we need to win this race.
What is the lineout race?
Consider the lineout a race into position and into the air. This is referred to as ‘speed on the ground’. Speed on the ground is hugely important as it gives the advantage to whichever jumping pod can get into position the quickest, before jumping and contesting for the ball. Beat your opponent on the ground and it will make the rest of the lineout much easier.
Does every lineout have a race?
Not every lineout involves the jumping pod moving into space, but all lineouts have an element of a race within them. Once the call has been made, and the lineout initiated, speed into the desired space, whether that is on the ground or in the air is critically important for a successful outcome. As a jumper, you must get to that space before your opponent does. Therein lies the race.
What the professional say
All Blacks Coach Mike Cron describes how the team in possession have a head start. “We are saying “GO” so we have an advantage. So long as we have an explosive jump, explosive lift and timing of the throw you should win most of your ball.”
Or as Lock George Robson puts it “Action beats reaction. If you get everything right the opponent should always be playing catch up.”
Teams with the throw in may look to further improve their chances of success by employing movement and deception before the ball is thrown into the lineout. As England’s George Robson states, the purpose is, to confuse the opposition and manipulate space;
“In the lineout technically everything has to be good but you also need to be able to manipulate space. Being able to deceive someone that you are going somewhere then go somewhere else very quickly enables you to win the ball.”
Watch my video on the 8 Steps to make your Lineout Work now.
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland A & 7s, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now U.S. Naval Academy Director of Rugby following 5 successful seasons as Head Coach at Dartmouth Rugby. He writes for RugbyToday.com and other publications when not coaching and blogging on lineoutcoach.com