Lineouts make it possible for teams to create a number of different scoring opportunities. Some are straightforward and easy to understand while others are a little more obscure.
The most obvious advantage of a lineout is that it is a set play that is easier to attack with than it is to defend against. If you win your lineout, you can set up a maul very similar in structure to a scrum in many ways. For a defense, it isn’t as easy as they aren’t binding to a straight line as in a scrum but to an oddly shaped almost round one.
This allows an attacking team to make good ground if they bind tightly and don’t try to make progress too quickly. A slow and steady pace often results in greater territorial gain.
You also have the option to remain bound and to change direction before launching more attacks.
Whenever an attacking team has this set up close to the line, they improve their chances of scoring a try.
If they don’t score, the second attacking option comes into play…
A lineout allows you to pull in ALL of the opposition forwards on one side of the field. This opens up a lot of room for an attacking backline and makes it really difficult to defend against.
The third option isn’t something an attacking team would necessarily aim for but one that often happens. If you keep your lineout tight and progress upfield with a maul, the defenders will often infringe and pull down your maul, resulting in kickable penalties.
Setting up attacking lineouts in the opposition’s half offers many exciting opportunities and is one of the reasons you would often see teams kicking relentlessly to get into the opposition’s halves. We will chat about kicks in general in another video.