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Lineout logistics

Date: 
Thursday, July 5, 2012

The lineout, unlike the scrum has more variables to it. Number in and out, options for lifting, where to lift and who to lift, lob ball, quick ball, throw-jump or jump-throw etc. There are certain ways in which coaches can use the lineout to their advantage to dictate our opponents movements to a certain degree so that we can attack allocated areas of the pitch.The lineout is a well-rehearsed play. It takes time to prepare lineouts – choreographed to suit the strengths of your forwards and your teams ability to attack. Once you have decided on a number of options for your lineout, you must then spend the time to rehearse them thoroughly.  Practice makes perfect!I have found that concentrating firstly on your lifters seems to rid you of so many more problems than you might think. Try and get that part of your lineout sorted first and foremost.  Remember a lineout cannot be 95% correct body position or lifting, its 100% every single time. You’re either first or your last. You either win the ball or you lose it. CallsTry to make your calls as simple as possible. When I say make it as simple as possible have a system which your team can easily understand, but something which is flexible and has millions of possibilities to it, so that the opposition will never be able to figure it out. E.g. I like to use the B-M-W call for schoolboy rugby especially. The lineout is broken up into 3 parts front-B middle-M back-W . Now the rest is up to you, call any animal, name, and place whatever with the letter W at the start or end or decide the second letter. If there is any chance that the other team suspects your plans simply change your 3 letter structure, example A-T-M , A-B-C , Do-Ra-Me , there are so many possibilities.Another quick fact which really puts your opposition in a bind is if you call your lineout call before you reach the lineout, so if you see the ball has been kicked out, simply call the call to your teammates as you’re moving towards the lineout. I like to have my hooker ready on the mark first, just as I do with my scrums. As your lineout walks in they can either jump on entry (once again this means  much grande rehearsal of the pretty balerinas) or they can set, calm the nerves, get their focus and then jump. No matter if you walk in or if you are set and jump the call can always be early, so players have time to process what they must do, visualize it and have a better chance of doing it properly, instead of being rushed in the lineout to process information very quickly and move at the same time.When using lineout calls, you must prepare for the worst, and by this I mean that you need a backup for everything you do. I allow my hooker to use his instinct on this one. For every call front, middle or back – there will be a BAIL OUT! Or CANCEL! This is simply a second option on the called throw. If the hooker calls "Wimbledon" and we move to lift at the back, and the opponents are on us, the hooker calls CANCEL just before he throws, this triggers the front man of the lineout to turn around and collect the ball in front. This is just one example, but I would advise you to have one cancel for each call that you have.This bail out can also be called off the cuff to take advantage of weaknesses in the positioning of the opponents defense. If you call a back ball, and the entire lineout reacts to our jumper and lifters the hooker can call a cancel on the throw. He and the front man in the lineout can then attack the 5m channel. 5-Man lineoutYour primary goal at the lineout is what? To firstly retain possession. After that I can attack, but I can’t do anything without the ball, so first things first! A 5 man lineout front jumper is your fastest most explosive jumper in front, because he will 99% of the time beat his opponent with the speed off the base. This is a jump throw action. If the jumper is feeling the heat from his opponent he can start a step or two back, and the jump can be forward to gain further advantage. The jump throw scenario is not set in stone and some people might do it differently and there is no right way of doing this, I am merely giving you some ideas to ponder about so that your round brain will hopefully end up an oval shape.A 5 man lineout also gives you more options with runners out wide. If you are looking to gain quick forward momentum your 7 or 8 could play directly off 9 or 10, hopefully lined up by their opposite looseforwards and in the process sucking in some of the lineout number too. A strong runner with 2 forwards on his heels should be more than enough for quick clean ball. Attacking optionsAs a coach we can use the lineout to dictate the pattern of play of our opponents, and devise attacking options for these certain situations. There are too many cases, especially at club level, where the forwards coach goes off with the pack and does lineouts for 12 hours(and still the hooker throws in skew) and the backline coach goes off and does his move. Come game day we have a lineout on the opponents 22m line, and the forwards decide they are going to OT ball off the middle of the lineout. And the backs have called a wide striking move. Now I’m no rocket scientist, and you don’t have to be either to realize that everyone who is involved in the lineout defensively has a free pass to cross defend like a mad man, and probably slice your full back or outside center to pieces as he tries to hit the gap on the switch.What do we need to create here? A situation where there are less NUMBERS and thus more SPACE. Wide strikeIf I was planning on a wide strike move from a lineout, I would try and fix my defending pack, leaving my backline man for man. I would throw in the front or middle - Hold ( all my other players getting ready for a "MAUL" which is not going to happen. As my men arrange themselves one loose forward stays at the back, As the jumper hits the ground he releases to the no.9, thus having the entire lineout bound to your pack. Another option is the quick OT ball off the back, the throw must be accurate and fast, the time it takes from the jumpers hands to 9 and 10 should be no more than 2 – 3 seconds, QUICK BALL. Playing 9 running a loop around the pod also closes the gap between 9 and 10. You could even play 10 behind 12 running an inside angel, stopping any possible cross defense efforts. This will hopefully open up the wide strike for your team. Channel 10 strikeI like to use a "W" ball here, boxing in the rest of the lineout and playing either 10 very flat from the lineout, just off the 15m, or a variation off 10, either 11 or 14  Allocating players with speed, which were not involved in the lifting process to be the support runners and cleanup squad! I have even used the jumper to fling the short pass to 10channel, making my no.9 the attacking runner on a C shape with 10 and 11/14 his support players which will hopefully end in the attack of more space.

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by Dr. Radut.