The 1014 Rugby look at modern rugby through the lens of a coach’s playbook.

Add to this the comments from both Eddie Jones and Scott Robertson regarding defence and it becomes apparent how important systems are. Yes, playing what is in front of you is important, however, building the foundation is even more so.

Modern rugby

Defence has developed faster than attack and defence is the main change in the game since RWC2015. Both of those statements from two incredibly well-respected coaches goes to show the importance of a playbook. The importance of structure and also the importance of structure that still allows heads-up rugby.

In this video The 1014 Rugby want to:

  1. Show what teams are trying to do.
  2. Why they are trying to do it.

So that you can recognise patterns. And ultimately understand and enjoy rugby more.

The areas covered in this overview of modern rugby are:

  • Pattern Play
  • Phase Play
  • Zones of a field
  • Old school moves
  • International team playbook

Pattern Play


A great example of pattern play can be seen in the try that Bonneval scores from a brilliant offload by Bastareaud. The game in question is the France v Italy Week 3 match in the 2018 Six Nations. Pattern play is a set number of plays with pre-defined moves. And this is exactly what France did. France steals a lineout, call a three-phase wide move, come back on one phase and then have created space. This is the patterns we refer to. This is run through in detail in the video.

Phase Play


Phase play is also known as an unpredictable attack. It is in open play and revolves around little groups of players forming structures. The structures could be triangles, diamonds, squares, whatever takes the teams fancy. The above image shows a very high-level layout of 2-4-2 which will be shown in more detail in the coming videos.

Zones of the field

The following three images show how the field can be broken down. This is important in terms of understanding the playbook and getting a feel for what some commentators refer to.

From The Shed

For more Six Nations content from The 1014 check out our playlist on YouTube. And if you haven’t seen our team analysis articles they can be found here for England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

The 1014 Rugby

Author: The 1014 Rugby

The 1014 is servicing the needs of a passionate and respectful global rugby community by producing world-class content based on three important values – Passion, Integrity and Respect.
All content is through the pure eyes of two children starting out on their journey in life. The 10 and 14 represent the two characters on this journey and everything produced is through their outlook on life.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Outstanding video gents, fascinating for me as a Scot who loves rugby and played only socially at school and Uni in the 70s. Amazing insight into where the game is now. Go Scotland🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

  2. Hi, blown away by the explanation. I’m just an old prop who used to follow the play round and was def old school in what I needed to know. Quite glad to be in the stands with a pint to be honest!

    I do have a question, has the modifications of the laws, especially around the breakdown led rugby down this road? That the breakdown is contested (hardly) but largely not in a “traditional” rucking format (I am led to believe for safety reasons) means in turn many more players around once the ball emerges. Its been more noticeable this season in the Premiership that RL style defences are even more prevalent and often no one challenges the breakdown for the ball. Is this a consequence/unintended consequence of the laws at present and the tweaks to the laws in the last 12 months or so? If so do you think its a good thing for rugby?

    My view on safety, wearing the scars of old style rucking, is that I’d prefer to be rucked than cleared out when trying to jackal!

  3. Thank you very much for the video. This sort of analysis is very helpful! I appreciate your hard work on this site, the podcast, etc. I’d be happy to have to consume an ad or two as part of the experience to make sure you guys can keep this going. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Joel, I’m really pleased you enjoyed this. We are working very very hard in the background to get parts 2 and 3 out… with footage. We believe that if we can get legal footage the content will be on a whole new level. Bear with us and we will get there. Cheers, Steven

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