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 Moving the ball

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Moving the ball


All passes in rugby must travel backwards. There are different varieties of pass, including the flat, direct spin pass; the short, close-quarters pop pass; and the floated pass - a long pass which an advancing player can run onto at pace.


Kicking forms a major part of rugby and is used to start and restart the game, score points, win territory, launch an attack or get a team out of trouble (known as a clearance kick).

If the ball is kicked directly into touch by a player from behind his own 22m line, the resulting lineout is taken where the ball crossed the touchline.

But if he is outside his 22, the lineout is taken level with the place from where the ball was kicked (except in the case of penalties).

Players must be behind the kicker for all set-piece kicks, such as kick-offs. But if a kick is made in loose play, then players can be in front of the kicker, although they must not advance towards the ball until the kicker has put them onside by moving in front of them.

Players use a wide range of kicks, such as the high, hanging up-and-under/garryowen/bomb; the end-over-end grubber kick; or the speculative chip-and-chase.


Only a player in possession of the ball can be tackled. American football-style blocking is not allowed. A tackled player must release the ball after he hits the ground. Neither he nor the tackler can play the ball until they are on their feet.

It is illegal to high tackle above the shoulders, or to "spike" a player by deliberately upending him onto his head. The same goes for the late tackle - taking the player after he has passed or kicked the ball.

It is also illegal to punch, gouge, stamp on or kick another player.

Heavy tackles are colloquially known as dump tackles, while an attempt to prevent the ball being released quickly is sometimes called a smother tackle.

Other terms:

Hand-off - a player in possession of the ball fends off a tackler with the flat of his hand; dummy - sending a defending player the wrong way by faking a pass; sidestep or jink - escaping a tackler by stepping around him.

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