Kicking strategically in a rugby game

Leigh Halfpenny kicking at goal

There are players that change the course of the game for club and country and often they are the kicking masters. There is no arguing the prowess of Dan Carter and Handre Pollard. Both have contributed heavily to dominant periods for their respective franchises and countries.

The most influential kicker of the past 30 years however has got to be Neil Jenkins of Wales. There was no one more lethal off the tee than him slotting a ridiculous 1 049 points for Wales in 87 appearances and 3 185 for his club Pontypridd in 237 appearances.

The modern-day equivalent of Neil Jenkins is another Welshman, Leigh Halfpenny. Until recently the highest-paid player in the world and destructive as a kicker and runner.

The different types of kicks in rugby

Different kicks serve different purposes on the field. Putting in the effort to upskill kickers will pay off in a big way in your team’s overall performance. There are a couple of different variations of kicks we will be looking at. They are:

  • Box kicks – almost exclusively the domain of the number 9. A box kick can be used both in a defensive and attacking manner
  • Kicking for touch – usually a flyhalf or fullback’s job, but most players in your backline should work on this skill
  • Drop kicking – a drop goal is a wonderful weapon for an attacking team and this is almost always performed by the flyhalf
  • Kicking at goal – this varies from one team to another but you will usually see the flyhalf or fullback taking these kicks. In some instances a scrumhalf will also take these kicks but it is only down to who can kick the best rather than the position they play
  • Kick pass – only in the past few years has this become a popular option for teams on the attack. In the past the only sort of kick pass was a grubber kick, but there are now multiple variations of this kick. It is almost exclusively done by the flyhalf
  • When to kick – being able to kick is crucial but it is only truly effective if you are kicking at the right time

Who should be training their kicking?

As you can see from the different types of kicks mentioned above, a lot of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the flyhalf. It is however important to also train the scrumhalf and fullback to kick effectively.

If you have the luxury of being able to train kicking with the rest of the backline, it is even better.

Should you prefer not to use the centres and wings for kicking, you can use them to field different types of kicks.

This becomes especially useful if players are taught to field high kicks from box kicks and getting their timing right on kick passes.