Like it or not there is a lot of kicking in rugby. Do rugby players just love kicking the footy around the park or is there a deeper reason why they can’t keep their boots away from the ball?
Why Do Rugby Players Kick The Ball?
Rugby players kick the ball in the general field of play to win territory and get the ball away from their own goal line. Rugby players also kick to score points either from a penalty kick, conversion after a try, or even a drop goal.
There two main reasons rugby players kick the ball, to gain territory or to score.
Kicking the ball to score makes sense. Rugby players can kick penalty goals and drop goals both worth three points and conversions after tries which are wroth two points.
Kicking for territory is a little confusing for new rugby fans but it is fairly simple.
In rugby, you do not want to run with the ball within your own half and definitely not within your own 22. The problem is if you start running with the ball in a poor position you give your opponents an amazing chance to score when you lose possession of the ball by giving away a penalty, knocking the ball on, throwing a forward pass, or causing some other infringement.
Kicking is not just used as a defensive tactic but can be used as an attacking play. For example you are in your own 22 and kick the ball out of touch and it lands deep in your opposition’s half.
Your opposition then wins the lineout and kicks the ball but it only reaches the halfway line. You now went from having the ball in your own 22 to now having a lineout at the halfway line, which puts you in a strong position to start running with the ball and attack. The chances of gaining that much territory by simply running from within your own 22 is low.
When a rugby side is in a poor position the optimal strategy is to kick the ball and try to gain territory. Once a rugby side has gained enough territory and are in a strong position they then can start attacking and try to score a try.
What Is It Called When You Kick The Ball In Rugby?
In rugby if you kick the ball out it is called a touch finder, if you kick it along the ground – a grubber, kick high into the air and try to catch it – up and under or bomb, bounce the ball off the ground then kick – drop kick.
There are so many different types of kicks in rugby. They all have their own name and purpose. We will breakdown the different types of rugby kicks and when you should use them.
Touch finder – This is the most common kick in rugby. This is when a player is standing inside their own 22 line and will intentionally kick the ball out of bounds. Rugby players use touch finders to gain territory and get the ball away from their goal line.
Place Kick – When a rugby player is kicking a penalty goal or a conversion after a try they will place the ball on a kicking stand and attempt to kick through the goalposts. Penalty kicks are worth three points while conversions are worth two points.
Penalty Kick for Touch – In rugby after a penalty has been awarded one of the options the side who has received the penalty has is to kick the ball. If the ball goes out of bounds they receive the lineout throw wherever the ball goes out of bounds.
Penalty Kick for Goal – When awarded a penalty a rugby side can also opt to kick for goal. The team’s kicker will take a place kick and attempt to kick the ball through the posts and over the crossbar. If the kick is successful they will be awarded three points.
Box Kick – A box kick is where the scrumhalf will pick the ball up from the back of the ruck and then kick the ball over his head and the ruck. Box kicks are used to gain territory and if performed particularly well can be regathered by the kicking side.
Drop Kick – A drop kick is when a rugby player bounces the ball on the ground and then kicks it. Drop kicks are used during kick-offs and to kick drop goals during the general field of play, they are worth 3 points if the player can kick it between the posts and over the crossbar.
Grubber – This is where a rugby player kicks the ball along the ground in the hopes of kicking it to one of their teammates or themselves. Grubbers are mostly used close to the goal line in an effort to score a try.
Bomb or Up and Under – A bomb or up and under is when a player will kick the ball high in the air and then chase after it in an effort to regain possession of the ball. Players will leap into the air and try to regather the ball. With a bomb the ball can be kicked in any direction but an up and under is usually kicked straight.
Chip and Chase – A chip and chase is very similar to an up and under but the ball is not kicked as high in the air. Players will use a chip and chase when there is no one behind the defensive line or a player has made a line break and has one defender to beat but has no supporting players to pass to.
Torpedo – A torpedo is where you kick the rugby ball with the outside of your foot creating a fast spiral. Torpedoes are used because they travel the furthest and can be difficult for opponent’s to regather cleanly as they can sway in the wind. Torpedoes can be touch finders or up and unders.
Banana – A banana kick is where you kick the ball in one direction and then bend it the other way. The trajectory of the ball ends up making a banana shape. Banana kicks are usually used when there are strong winds or the player is trying to kick from a poor angle. Banana kicks can be used as touch finders, place kicks, or even bombs.