When chasing a kick, an incredibly fast and quick individual may pull off a miracle re-gather. Even at the professional level, however, this doesn’t happen often so teams tend to have a chasing group of at least three players to pressure and contain the opposition. Three (or more) players should adopt a flat arrow shape. The tip focuses on the ball and the flanking players help contain the receiver and cover in case the tip is beaten be a clever step.

Kick Chase 1

If those players are totally flat with each other, and the point gets beat, it’s likely that the whole unit will be beat.

Kick Chase 2

As quickly as possible, the majority of the team need to establish a secondary line of defence, matching pace with each other until their defensive wall is established. If any of these players sprint up as individuals, they invite clever counter-attackers to weave in between them.

Not everyone can be part of the chase for the ball, however. If the kick goes directly to a opponent and if that person has time to kick back, you can all of a sudden be under immense pressure.

Teams with great open field running, passing, and support skills might also welcome a kick-back so they can counter with their talents against disorganised opponents. As such, opting to kick should spark several of your players into action to drop back and cover a potential kick-back. Who this is depends on who initially kicked and chased. Typically, three backs will drop back and some teams even invite a mobile and powerful forward like a rampaging No. 8 or dynamic flanker to join in the fun. It’s wise, too, if one of those players drops back half way to cover short kick-backs. The scrum half is usually the best person for this, with the appropriate skill set and the mobility to move up and direct play if the ball is re-gathered.

Here’s a great example of a team getting back onside and then linking up to create both a pressure point and to re-establish a line across the pitch:


The following looks at the kick chase in more detail: