Rugby Kicking Techniques

Updated July 19, 2017

Rugby is a popular sport that was first developed in 1823 at the School of Rugby in Warwickshire, England. It is most popular in the United Kingdom, Oceanic and Southern Africa regions of the world. Rugby is a fast-paced game played with very little stoppage and quick changes of possession. In the process of kicking, either in trying for points, a free kick or to clear the ball from bad field position, there are multiple techniques a player may use.

Spiral Kick

The Spiral Kick is used when a player wants to get the most distance out of a kick. It is of a similar motion to that of a punter in American football. The spiral kick is used to advance the ball as quickly as possible. If executed properly and accurately, it can make an offensive attack very hard to beat.

On-End Kick

The On-End kick is for shorter range but thought to be more accurate than that of a spiral kick. Instead of kicking the ball on the side, a player would kick it on either end, giving the ball an end-over-end motion. The on-end kick is used to make a short chip shot over the defence or to quickly clear when deep in your zone. Although a player may not get distance out of this type of shot, the height and ability for odd bounces on clearances can pose a problem for the opponent.

Grubber Kick

The Grubber Kick is another type of kick used to clear the ball from your own zone. It is a low and hard kick meant to bounce off of the ground multiple times, making it hard for the opponent to be able to pick up the ball and quickly advance up field. A grubber kick produces odd bounces varying in both direction and height.

Drop Kick

The Drop Kick is used either for a kick-off, a restart, or an attempt to score a field or drop goal. A field/drop goal is worth three points in rugby union and one point in rugby league. The ball is dropped onto the ground and kicked once it bounces. In a drop kick, a player should aim for the bottom half of the ball, giving it good height and a moderate amount of distance.

Place Kick

The Place Kick is used for either kick-offs, a penalty kick to the goal or a conversion kick to the goal. The ball is placed stationary on the ground by using a small mound of sand or a self-made divot by the player and struck on the bottom half of the ball, giving it an end-over-end motion. The most common style is the "round-the-corner" kick, which is kicked with the instep of the foot and usually hooks to the left for a right-footed kicker and to right for a left-footed kicker.

Tap Kick

The tap kick is an alteration of strategy in rugby. From a free kick opportunity, if a team feels they will benefit more by keeping possession of the ball rather than kicking it down field, a player may use two methods to meet the mandatory minimum distance travelled on a free kick. A player can either (1) place the ball on the ground, touch it forward with his foot and pick it up again to continue his run or (2) drop the ball onto his foot while running and kick it back up into his hands to continue his run. In either instance, the ball must move forward a noticeable distance.

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About the Author

Alex Oppenheimer has been writing Sport and Recreation related articles since 2001. He has previously written for publications such as The Miami Herald,, (University of Miami Athletics), (Florida High School Sports) and The Metropolitan Golf Association (NY). He holds a degree in Sport Administration from the University of Miami (FL).