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The 4 S's of Rugby

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Photo Credit: John Wagner

The All Backs played the USA eagles on November 1st 2014 in Chicago’s Soldier Field. Number 1 in the World Vs Number 18 in the world.

The aim of this game was a promotional tool to build rugby in the USA and allow the game to have more exposure nationally, the All Blacks certinally showed the USA how to play the game. High Scoring, fast and entertaining. Beautiful to watch. Nobody would have thought that the USA had a chance in winning the game however they were certainly taught a lesson on how to play the game.

Personally I believe that the way you play the game was exactly how the AB played. Although I do think the AB didn’t come out of third gear they still played very intelligently and played what was in front of them.

For me when playing the game it effectively comes down to what I call the 4 S’s.




SCAN – Look at the field. Where are your players? Where is the ball? What position on the field are you in? Where is the opposition? What is their defensive shape like? What is the offensive shape like?

SPACE – Identify and use. There is so much space on a rugby field and the idea of the game is to access this as much as possible. The less players are in contact the better.

SPEED – Once the space has been identified then it must be taken otherwise the defence will take it and therefore lose the opportunity to gain a score or yards. This includes players running in to space with and without the ball. Moving the ball in to the space but quick accurate passing or kicking.

SUPPORT – When the ball is in the space then players must make an effort to support the ball carrier. Rugby can be such a dynamic game and if played slowly and in the contact area it is an easy game to defend. The more options the ball carrier has the less players have to be in contact making it hard to defend. The idea of team sports is to give the ball to players who have better chance of scoring than you do.

The AB were very good at this against USA. They created and made space very quickly and easily, they identified and moved the ball quickly in to the space and the support was incredible. TRY TIME They scored 12 tries and from try number 1 they did this. Watch this highlights here.

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