Principles of Play - Continuity! image
Posted on July 4th 2018 by Richard Hicks

Principles of Play - Continuity!

It is the aim of the team in possession to maintain continuity by denying the opposition the ball. This is where Rugby Union differs from other sports such as Football, Aussie Rules, American Football, Rugby League etc. where passing is the sole source of continuity. Rugby has sequences where physical contact such as rucking or mauls can also define continuity. Often being used as a tactic to change the tempo of a game and introduce some chaos. Allowing for space to open up elsewhere.

When coaching continuity you have to include so much more than just running into shields or handling exercises. Here are a few aspects you should be including:

1) Ball Carry:

Video: Grip Games - Ball Retention

2) Footwork:

Video: Importance of Footwork

3) Body Shape In Contact:

Video: Continuity in Attack - Contact

4) Ball Presentation:

Video: Worcester Academy - Ball Presentation

The current shape of the game is determined very often by what happens at World Cups and you should expect some changes to the game we play this year. The 2015 World Cup threw up some interesting facts and stats on the game:

  • Ball in play: 44%
  • Passes made: 282 per game
  • Kicks from hand: 39 per game
  • Scrums: 13 per game
  • Penalties: 22 per game
  • Rucks: 4.5x more than scrums and lineouts

Interestingly where tries were scored from:

  • 51% from lineouts
  • 49% from 22m to goal line
  • 40% from more than 3 rucks
  • 60% from less than 3 phases

Expect a World Cup to be based on increasing the time the ball is in play so lots of tactical substituions, more box kicks to apply pressure, more offloading to reduce rucks and increase opportunities to score.

However plans are afoot to change the shape of the game, we will discuss these in the next campaign.