Stade Francais win in clash with Pau

World XV convincingly beat Japan

Springboks bounce back to beat Argentina

HUGE hit between giant Polish forwards

Alesana Tuilagi crunches big winger!

Inside the Pride, in Africa, Part 3

Sky Sport NZ's Super Rugby Player Awards

Jerry Collins appearance for club 2nd XV

Fight for ball results in WWE style slam

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Smarter Rugby with Ian McGeechan - Battle of the Shoulders & Spin Passing

Smarter Rugby with Ian McGeechan - Battle of the Shoulders & Spin Passing

The next instalment of our ASICS Smarter Rugby feature with Ian McGeechan comes to you today with a focus on two very important aspects of the game clearing players at the breakdown, and spin passing.

McGeechan, one of the most respected coaches in the game, focuses on perfecting the basics before excelling at more complicated skills things. In the first of two clips, the British & Irish Lions coach talks about the battle of the shoulders at the breakdown.

The three key points discussed are:
Your shoulders should be below your opponents
Place your leading foot next to the ball
Win the battle of the shoulders and make quick ball available

In the second clip he talks about how to find space by using longer, spin passes. While short, flat passes still have their place in modern rugby, the spin pass allows attackers to utilise the space in front of them, opening up defences when spreading it wide at pace.

The aim here is to target the players hands at shoulder height, get them running onto it by passing it in front of them, and to move the ball quickly and accurately away from the contact point.

If you can do all three of those, and make sure the player youre passing to doesnt break stride, youll find that youll become a far more potent backline just by perfecting those basic principles.

Smarter Player + Smarter Boot = Smarter Rugby with Sir Ian McGeechan
By learning how to become a Smarter Player and wearing the ASICS Smarter Boot, you can play Smarter Rugby with Sir Ian McGeechan. To win great prizes and find out more, go to .

Posted by Rugbydump at 4:03 pm | View Comments (16)

Viewing 16 comments

Anonymous March 16, 2010 4:55 pm

this is just so bad, mcgeechan is a terrible coach.

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Anarchangel March 16, 2010 4:58 pm

What is the target audience of these videos?

I guess I ask because I'm not sure what other kind of passing they'd be learning.

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Anarchangel March 16, 2010 5:05 pm

What's "bad" about it Anon?

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GH March 16, 2010 5:27 pm

Anon. and Anarchangel.

He seems like an excellent coach - this series is obviously based on getting the very basics right, which he is doing. I'm guessing the drills are aimed at beginners.

In terms of the spin/push pass, it's bullshit to suggest you never use a push pass. Professionals will almost never use a spin pass inside 8m of each other - it's harder to catch, for starters, and a push pass is just as stable and accurate over the short distance. A good push pass can in fact be harder to do right than the equivalent spin. Of course, there's always some guy that thinks he's too good to push it...

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Anonymous March 16, 2010 6:02 pm

its the fact that its aimed at complete beginners that annoys me, theres nothing here that an u-9s/10s/12s coach wouldnt be able to teach. mcgeechan isnt doing anything particularly brilliant here or anything.
I think he also gives a terrible team talk before games, lions v not this year but the last time they visited was pretty embaraasing to listen to.

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schtee March 16, 2010 6:10 pm

Do we all remember why the Springboks did so well in 09? Because they executed simple basics to perfection, usually all game, for 80 minutes. McGeechan probably tried to infuse the same thing into his B&I team so they would stand a chance and look how they did. Simple things like this may seem a bit juvenile but I've seen some horrid rucking techniques/attempts plenty of times before. The whole spin pass thing is pretty obvious though, I'll agree with you on that

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Scotsdale March 16, 2010 6:55 pm

Guys, we've all played with players who simply can't get the concept of running onto the ball. They either time their runs wrong, or if you're the receiver they try to bullet it into your chest, rather than floating/bulleting it out front for you to truly hit it at pace.

Yes it's fairly basic, yes it's logical, but believe me, some players need reminding of this type of thing.

I also thought the clearing at the ruck bit, with getting your shoulders below the other players, is a pretty handy and simple method to keep in mind, rather than just saying to yourself 'Lets clear that motha effer out of there!!'.. then getting tossed on your arse.

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No.7 March 16, 2010 7:53 pm

.....what scotsdale said basically....

you've all had a warm up before a game and still someone is bulletng a pass at you when you are 3-4 metres away...

The whole point of this is 'SMARTER RUGBY' now if you cant get the basics right then you arent gonna get much else right..

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RP23 March 16, 2010 9:39 pm

Firstly, Sir Ian is obviously a high caliber, succesful coach and very well respected.
I think the main aim of these videos is to plaster "asics" everywhere possible and get some nice publicity for them with Geech as the star - as opposed to technical coaching aspects of the game. The intention is pretty good though.

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GH March 16, 2010 9:59 pm

Would have been nice to see his take on alternative rucking techniques though, based on who you're up against - getting your head under theirs/ the judo roll etc.

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Mark March 17, 2010 2:15 am

Well said, GH.

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M March 17, 2010 11:29 am

Rugby is a simple game if you do the basics well, and too few teams do the basics well, let alone practice them

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Anonymous March 18, 2010 3:02 am

THE SECOND PASS IS OBVIOUSLY A GLAMOROUS FORWARD... it usually happens and it isn't penalized very often from the refs... the blonde guy passes forward and runs faster after the pas, it is forward.. check out the lines of the green... poor rugby

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Anonymous March 18, 2010 1:52 pm

you're a bunch of know it all wankers!!! Hahaha why aren't any of you guys coaches of international representative sides? dickheads!

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Riley250 December 14, 2010 12:10 pm

I feel sorry for the guys getting coached though. Bet when they signed up for a days coaching off Sir Ian McGeecan they'd be learning a few more advanced skills. All the skills are relevant though and playing good rugby is all about doing the basics right at 100mph.

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Anonymous January 21, 2011 8:13 am

I believe presenting a target by putting your hands up to meet the ball makes a world of difference.

So many times you see the passer passes towards the receivers hips or inside shoulder even and you loose that momentum. It's amazing how so often , even in international rugby a poor pass stops a try and by poor I mean not in front of the player and straight to the receivers hands.

Ian has got it right. When coaching a team you get the basics perfected then once that is sorted things can only improve.

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