Lineout – a set phase with huge opportunity

Victor Matfield catching a ball in the lineout

Early on in the professional era of rugby a lineout was simply seen as a way to restart the game. It however quickly evolved and in recent times it has become one of the most dangerous attacking platforms a team can have. The most well known of the kings of lineouts in recent times is definitely Victor Matfield.

He was not an athlete of great physical prowess in other areas of the game but few could contend with him at lineout time.

There are a couple of great lineout jumpers these days and they help to set up some amazing plays for their teams. The jumpers are however just a part of the success. I am not trying to take anything away from the likes of Brodie Retallick, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones or RG Snyman but a lineout is a team effort from the whole forward pack.

There are a couple of aspects related to lineouts that we would like to discuss in more depth. The idea is to make sure that you have a good understanding of all the moving parts and can plan how to combine them successfully.

We will be looking at the following areas related to the lineout:

  • The anatomy of the lineout – the basics about a lineout
  • Hooker throw in drills – it all starts with the hooker being able to throw in accurately. The hooker throw in drills are aimed it teaching a hooker to consistently hit the target.
  • Jumper and lifter drills – both the jumpers and lifters need to practice their craft. The combination of jumpers and lifters are crucial and need to run like a well-oiled machine
  • The full lineout – where everyone goes in a full lineout and the advantages and disadvantages that go with it.
  • The short lineout – there are loads of variations of the short lineout. We will look at a couple of them and see exactly why they can become a great part of your overall game
  • Lineout attacking options – this is where things get exciting! If you are able to set up successful lineouts it opens up a number of attacking options. If executed well some of them are almost unstoppable
  • Lineout defensive options – this is an area that is often neglected but should get its due attention. We look at where players should run to from the lineout as well as defending in and around the lineout

Rugby would just not be the same without the tall timbers rising and catching a ball. It is the start of so many exciting possibilities and something that you should definitely take VERY seriously during practice.