RUGBY SKILLS: HOW TO PASS THE BALL

Passing is a skill that is all about being accurate. Get it wrong and your team could lose the ball. Here's our advice on how to do it properly. 

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The pass is a key aspect of rugby. One way to move the ball up the pitch and towards the in-goal area is for players to pass the ball to each other. In doing so, however, they must ensure the ball does not go forwards. That is the first rule of passing in rugby.

The positioning of the hands on the ball is a crucial factor. In passing the ball the player must turn their wrists and their fingers and, once the ball has been released, follow through with arms outstretched towards the player they are passing to. The hand positioned towards the back of the ball rotates the ball while the one at the front guides it. This video shows you  the different types of passes in rugby and gives you tips on getting your passing right.

1. THE POP PASS

The coach of French women's first division club LMRCV, Frédéric Cocqu explains how to play the pop pass. 

“The pop pass is a short pass played quickly and under pressure to a nearby team-mate. To play a pass like this there are several things the passer has to do: hold the ball firmly between their fingers, engage the elbows and push the ball upwards with their elbows and wrists. The passer must look towards the target before playing the pass, and their shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands should all point in the direction of the team-mate receiving the pass.”

2. THE SPIN PASS

Frédéric now moves on to the spin pass, which is played faster and over a longer distance. It tends to be used among the backs and to start attacking moves. 

“One hand is positioned slightly in front of the other. The hand to the rear propels the ball and the hand to the front guides it. As with the pop pass, it is important that the shoulders and the hands finish pointing towards the target. This will increase your chances of playing an accurate pass. This type of pass involves a lot of movement and you must use your legs to propel the ball, particularly the inside leg.”

3. THE OFFLOAD

Offloads are made when the player in possession is tackled and passes the ball on to a team-mate. Frédéric explains the purpose of the pass and how to play it properly. 

“This type of pass is played to keep the ball alive and to avoid having a ruck or maul. There are various types of offload depending on the contact with the opponent, and they can be played with one or two hands. First up, you can roll an arm around your opponent to get the ball away from the contact area. Then there's reverse pass, where, if your shoulders are free, you can pop the ball up on the outside. Finally, you can pass the ball off the ground, after you've been tackled, to keep the move going.”

We've explained three types of rugby pass to you. Now's the time to go out and practice them.