Richie McCaw, gives away some of his secrets in this excellent breakdown masterclass from Sky Sport NZ. Along with hosts Ian Jones and Jeff Wilson, both capped over 60 times for their country, we get to see some of the key aspects of breakdown work.
Now 34-years-old and no doubt heading into his final Rugby World Cup, the most capped All Blacks captain of all time talks about the various ways to clean out players at the breakdown, as well as protect and steal ball.
As he explains, it’s all about making key decisions as you approach, and then winning the shoulder battle when making contact. If that doesn’t work, there are other things you can do.
It’s a fascinating look at an aspect of the game that is always hotly contested, and policed, and is more often than not an area that McCaw has dominated, for well over a decade now.
Unsurprisingly, All Blacks legend McCaw mentions Wallaby breakdown powerhouse David Pocock, saying that once he’s set over the ball, he’s almost impossible to move.
While there are specialists such as McCaw, Pocock and over the years, George Smith, each and every player on the field can learn from these techniques, as you’re sure to encounter similar situations regularly. Take note, and get that body position correct.