Rugby is a sport that requires a wide range of skills, including passing, tackling, running, and kicking. Kicking the ball is a crucial part of rugby, and players use different types of kicks to achieve different goals on the field. In this blog, we will explore 10 reasons why rugby players kick the ball, the different types of kicks and their purpose, players who are great at kicking, the importance of kicking, and the rules of kicking in rugby.
Why Do Rugby Players Kick the Ball?
- Territory – One of the main reasons why rugby players kick the ball is to gain territory on the field. By kicking the ball deep into the opposition’s half, a team can put pressure on their opponents and potentially score points.
- Gain ground – Rugby players may kick the ball to gain ground, particularly when running with the ball is not an option. This can be useful in situations where the opposition has a strong defensive line.
- Clear the ball – If a team is under pressure in their own half, they may kick the ball to clear it from danger and relieve the pressure on their defense.
- Chase the ball – Rugby players may kick the ball with the intention of chasing it down and regaining possession.
- Score points – Kicking is also a key method of scoring points in rugby, with penalties, conversions, and drop goals all reliant on accurate kicking.
- Change the angle of attack – Kicking the ball can also be used to change the angle of attack, forcing the opposition to adjust their defensive line and creating space for attacking players.
- Counter-attack – If the opposition kicks the ball to your team, players may choose to counter-attack by running the ball back at them or kicking it back and gaining territory.
- Force errors – Kicking can also be used to force errors from the opposition, such as causing them to knock the ball on or concede a penalty.
- Set up attacking opportunities – Kicking the ball strategically can create opportunities for attacking players to run onto the ball and create scoring chances.
- Control the game – Finally, kicking can be used as a method of controlling the game, with players using kicks to slow the pace down, disrupt the opposition’s rhythm, or maintain possession.
Types of Rugby Kicks
There are several different types of kicks in rugby, each with its own purpose and technique:
- Drop goal – A drop goal is scored by kicking the ball between the posts and over the crossbar during open play. It is worth three points.
- Penalty kick – A penalty kick is awarded to a team when the opposition commits a foul. It is taken from where the foul occurred and is worth three points.
- Conversion kick – A conversion kick is taken after a try has been scored and is worth two points. The kicker must kick the ball over the crossbar and between the posts.
- Punt – A punt is a high, long kick used to gain territory or clear the ball from danger.
- Grubber kick – A grubber kick is a low kick along the ground, designed to bounce and confuse the opposition defense. It can also be used to create attacking opportunities.
- Chip kick – A chip kick is a short, high kick used to gain territory or create attacking opportunities.
- Box kick – A box kick is a high, deep kick used to relieve pressure on a team’s defense. It is usually kicked by the scrum-half or fly-half.
Best Rugby Kickers
There have been many great rugby kickers over the years, with different players excelling in different types of kicks. Here are some notable kickers who have left their mark on the sport:
- Jonny Wilkinson – Wilkinson is widely regarded as one of the best kickers in rugby history. He is famous for his drop goal that secured England’s victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final. Wilkinson was also an accurate goal kicker, scoring 1,246 points for England during his career.
- Dan Carter – Carter is a former New Zealand international who is considered one of the greatest fly-halves of all time. He was also an exceptional kicker, scoring a total of 1,598 points in his international career. Carter was known for his accuracy, and he holds the record for the most points scored in international rugby.
- Neil Jenkins – Jenkins was a Welsh international who was a prolific goal kicker. He scored a total of 1,049 points for Wales, and he is the second-highest scorer in Welsh rugby history. Jenkins was also an excellent tactician, often using his kicking ability to control the game.
- Johnny Sexton – Sexton is an Irish fly-half who is known for his exceptional kicking skills. He has a high success rate when it comes to both penalty and conversion kicks, and he has scored a total of 772 points for Ireland. Sexton has also been praised for his leadership skills on the field.
- Morne Steyn – Steyn is a South African fly-half who is considered one of the best goal kickers in rugby. He has a unique kicking style that involves a shorter run-up than most kickers, but he is still able to generate a lot of power. Steyn has scored a total of 736 points for South Africa, and he is known for his accuracy under pressure.
Kicking is an essential part of rugby, and it plays a crucial role in the success of a team. There are various types of kicks that can be used to gain territory, maintain possession, and score points. The different types of kicks require different skills and techniques, and some players excel in certain types of kicks over others. Having a good kicker on a team can make a significant difference in a game, and there have been many great kickers throughout rugby history. The rules surrounding kicking in rugby are also important to ensure fair play and safety on the field. Overall, kicking is a fundamental aspect of rugby that requires skill, strategy, and precision, and it will continue to be an essential part of the sport for years to come.