When you are not getting through or around the defence, a clever kick may help you get behind them or at least put them under pressure deep in their own end. It goes without saying that you need to have at least one (preferably more!) good kicker as well as a chase and coverage strategy to re-gather or pressure the ball and be ready for a return kick.

A lot of coaches discourage kicking and while it is true that aimless kicks hand possession to the opposition, well placed kicks to the corner have more positives than negatives:

The negatives:

1. The opposition can run the ball back.
2. The ball could go straight to touch, giving the opposition a lineout from where the ball was kicked.
3. The ball could be kicked in-goal for a 22m drop out or dead for a 22 or a scrum from where it was kicked.
4. The opposition could kick the ball back where you don’t have adequate coverage.

The positives:

1. You could re-gather the ball.
2. The defence could knock-on, awarding you a scrum.
3. With defender(s) under pressure, can make a poor decision passing to a team mate.
4. The defender can be tackled into touch, giving you the lineout.*
5. The defender can kick the ball into touch, giving you a lineout.
6. The defence tries to run the ball out and is stopped (even better if counter-rucked).
7. The defence kicks back poorly and invites a counter-attack.
8. The defence lets the ball go into touch, but your team pressures / steals their lineout.

*Chasing players must also be aware if an opposition player touches the ball before it goes out (touched in flight, bobbled on the ground, etc.) With the lineout going to the kicking / chasing team in this case, a quick throw in might be on!