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Tactics and Common Phrases

The Blind Side

Every break down or scrum has a blind side and an open side, the blind side is the smaller side, so called as it is blind to the majority of the defenders who are on the open side as there is more space to cover on the open side.

The blindside is usually attacked when the space is big enough to send 2 players down but is the open side is still big enough to only have one defender spare thus creating a 2 on 1 situation and a potential try scoring situation.

The Open Side

The opposite of the blind side, the open side is the side with the most space. This gives the attacking team more space to play the ball but more defenders cover the open side and so often cancels the space out.

Down the Middle

Often to tie in defenders and to free up quick ball a team will put the ball "down the middle". This involves giving the ball to a big runner to run into contact in the middle of the pitch. This will hopefully prompt some of the wide defenders to move into help with the tackle and so leaves more space on the wings to attack.

Quick Ball

The speed of which the ball comes back from the ruck (or maul) limits what moves you can play. For example teams playing champagne or 15 man rugby will aim to move the ball quickly to expose a unprepared defence and so want quick ball, the flip side to this is teams playing 10 man rugby want slow ball so they have time to organise themselves and slow play down to catch their breath.

Champagne Rugby

Champagne rugby is the exact opposite of 10 man rugby. The ball is moved as quickly as possible and as far around the pitch in an effort to make use of their faster players and to tire a less fit team.

The Welsh are famous for this style of game, although the phrase originates from New Zealand.

It involves offloading out of the tackle, keeping the ball in play more and avoiding contact.

This game is more aesthetically pleasing and so is applauded if a team can master it; however it carries far more risk than any other style and can back fire spectacularly as it did for the Welsh against England in February (They lost 47-13)

15 Man Rugby

The ultimate in rugby a team who can master this will beat the world. A combination of champagne rugby and a rugged pack of forwards the team will aim to play the ball down the middle first using a big forward and head straight into contact, before throwing the ball wide and using the fast men to avoid contact and score.

New Zealand seems to have mastered this style, having only been troubled by England and South Africa's 10 man rugby whilst annihilate the rest of the world.

10 Man Rugby

This is a tactic employed mainly by teams in the northern hemisphere partially due to the wet whether. Basically the team does not intend to run the ball at all and will use the line-out and a kicking fly half to move the ball forward.

Condemned fiercely by the southern hemisphere (although South Africa often play 10 man rugby) the tactic is seen and negative as it does not produce a pretty spectacle to watch.

The main play consists of 3 stages:

  1. The fly half kicks the ball down-field if within the 22 aiming to put it straight into touch if outside aiming to bounce it into touch
  2. The forward pressure the opposition line out in an attempt to win the ball
  3. When they have the ball they will maul it forward until they can't maul forward anymore before passing to the fly half, repeating the steps again

This tactic can upset anyone on their day but is not considered to be the mark of a "good" team but rather a team falling back on their strengths to scrap a result.

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