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Thursday Apr 7, 2016

Rugby Tactics: The Counter Attack Kings of New Zealand

Rugby Tactics: The Counter Attack Kings of New Zealand

The attacking mindset of the teams in this year’s Super Rugby competition has been an absolute joy to watch. Intent has been front and centre of most teams game plan. With everyone looking to play with ball in hand we’ve been blessed with some truly brilliant tries.

Tries from Counter Attacking have featured heavily with teams like the Chiefs, often scoring more times from Counter Attacks than from phase play and set pieces. For example against the Force and the Brumbiess the Chiefs scored 14 tries, and 10 were scored from turnovers.

That’s a pretty special strike rate, and they are essentially beating the modern structured defence by attacking when it’s not set.

So we’re going to have a look at how the Chiefs built their first try, by James Lowe, from a Brumbies mistake. We will also take a quick look at the first try from the Crusaders vs Lions game, which also came from a counter attack, that time from a turn over at a ruck.

There are also some wonderful examples of counter attacking play in the opening segment of the video from the All Blacks, the Exeter Chiefs and of course THE classic counter attack try from France.

Both of the main examples use simple systems: the Chiefs making sure they maintain a back three whilst also kick chasing, and the Crusaders clearly utilising the three pass rule from turn over ball.

Counter Attacking simplicity means it’s an excellent weapon that can be replicated through all levels of the game. Teams that put a premium on basic core skills, and importantly fitness, will be able to excel in this area.

As always please feel free to leave feedback and comments below

About The Deadballarea

An Englishman living in France, Graeme Forbes runs Rugby Analysis website,

An IRB qualified coach, in his spare time he helps coach a junior men’s team in Paris. You can catch him on twitter lazily re-tweeting other peoples comments and the Green and Gold Rugby website where he contributes Super 15 and Wallabies based analysis articles.


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