Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC Sport Academy
BBC Sport You are in: Rugby Union: Features  

Rugby Union
Give It A Go
Jargon Guide

Latest Sports News
Academy Parent

Get the newsletter
Make big hits with the crash ball
Around the Academy:

Rugby crash ball graphic
It's the tactic that's all the rage in rugby, so we thought we'd find out a little more.

What's the crash ball?

It's the tactic rugby union teams use to batter through defences.

You'll usually see it around rucks when a player runs onto a pass into two or three defenders at pace.

Where does it come from?

It's used all the time in rugby league. Props or second row forwards run onto a pass at speed from dummy-halves into two or three defenders.

Dafydd Jones gets stuck into the All Blacks
Crash, bang, wallop!

The combination of speed, power and strength will force the defence onto the back foot, creating holes in the defence by committing players into the tackle.

So the theory goes.

How do teams exploit the crash ball?

By offloading the ball to nearby team-mates to run into the newly created space in the opposition's defence.

This is often the tactic rugby league teams use as two or three tacklers are needed to bring the "crash baller" down.

If the attacker can get the ball away to a nearby team-mate before the referee calls a tackle, they can hit the holes in the defensive line where the defenders were before they got drawn into the tackle.

Who's good at it?

It's usually something forwards love getting stuck into, especially the back row who tend to be faster than their front row scrum-mates.

But backs have been getting in on the action too.

Since wingers are getting bigger in size, they've been coming infield off their flanks and make the holes in the middle of the pitch.

England hooker Steve Thompson is one of the best around at making those holes, along with Australia's huge winger Wendell Sailor.

^^ Back to top
© BBC Contact us | Help | About us Disclaimer
Football  |  Cricket  |  Tennis  |  Golf  |  Rugby Union  |  Rugby League  |  Athletics  |  Basketball  |  Swimming
Other Sport  |  In the Gym  |  Healthy Eating  |  Treatment Room  |  Your Blueprint  |  Learning Centre