As I have mentioned earlier in this series, Scotland like to use the grubber kick close to the wings. In fact, they like it a lot.
It is too much of a coincidence that this play occurs to be a random act. And it just so happens that Scotland has the players for this tactic built from confidence to work. Players like Finn Russell, Huw Jones, Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland.
When Scotland kick via the grubber, they have two objectives;
- To pressure the sweeper into touch, thus allowing the opportunity to launch the next attack off set piece.
- To regather with the speed men and score the try.
This is why they kick so often that close to the wings. They not only bring up the backfield men and force them to take the ball to touch rather than risk the turnover in broken play, but their back three are fast and can outstrip wingers who are turning on the spot.
To achieve this, they have three principles to enhance chances of success.
- The kicker must kick as flat to the line as possible.
- The chasers are as flat to the kicker as possible.
- There must be as many chasers as possible.
The combo of these three allows the Scots to gain a couple of metres on the turning defensive back 3 and makes the chances of the try far likelier.
When a forward is allowed to put the grubber in, you know it’s a pretty accepted philosophy of a team. Barclay makes the kick, and it is chased by the flat runners.
It is not regathered but is put into space, which allows the offensive chase to pressure the back 3.
This is the grubber that causes Huw Jones to go in for his try.
As we can see here, Hogg kicks just as he is about to be tackled. Principle 1, checked. This means that Seymour has the edge on Ioane in front of him, who has to turn whilst Seymour is at full tilt.
The players are also flat to Hogg when the kick is made. Principle 2, checked. The below is the result of this, they are on the ball before the All Blacks are.
Lastly, there are 2 players in support of Seymour when he regathers the ball, Principle 3, checked. This means said players are on his shoulder to take the ball to the line. Which is exactly what they do.
That is it for Scotland, but from what we can see, they are definitely improving their ball in hand attacking game and are particularly potent against teams who don’t use Rush 13. Their big test will be beating that defensive system this weekend at Murrayfield and The Aviva the following weekend. Regardless, Scotland are now prime contenders and can be counted right up there in the form teams of Europe. Continue their progress like they have been and they will be a dangerous proposition for the World, not just Europe.
Author: Conor Wilson
I split my social time between jumping out of planes, running, going away with the Army, and coaching and playing the beautiful game of Rugby.
Joe Schmidt, Will Greenwood and Rod MacQueen are my heroes, and my proudest moment was putting Jason Robinson in for a try at the Samsung School of Rugby. It was truly beautiful.