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