The Netherlands scored three tries against Germany in the Rugby Europe Championship using a nine-man lineout

Rassie Erasmus has long been heralded as a man who loves to scour through the rugby law book to gain an advantage for his side, with the most recent example being his traffic light system in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

This drive for innovation has helped South Africa win consecutive World Cups under his leadership. But like the Romans during the growth of their empire, Erasmus is always looking to pick up the best ideas to allow the Springboks to gain the upper hand. And lineouts are as good a place as any to gain that.

Lyn Jones is the most recent innovator that the 51-year-old could take some tips from. Jones is the current head coach of the Netherlands, and the Welshman’s tactics have recently gone viral on social media with these lineouts.

Netherlands scored 3 times from a 9 man lineout today
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The Dutch defeated Germany 39-13 in the last round of the Rugby Europe Championship group stage. Both sides were already out of the running to qualify for the tournament’s semi-finals, but they will move into the Ranking Finals. This is the path to deciding which side will finish between fifth and eighth.

The win secured the Netherlands a home win against Poland, while Germany will travel to Belgium. The Dutch will be favourites to finish the competition in fifth place after their close loss to Spain and domination of Germany, while Germany may struggle to overcome a strong Belgian side that has already defeated an impressive Portuguese side.

Famously, the Dutch have been viewed as the innovators of football, having gifted the sport the idea of ‘total football’, and now they have gifted a tactic to rugby to change the sport forever.

The Netherlands used a nine-man lineout to empathic success not just once but three times. Each time the tactic was used from five metres out, and once the lineout was collected, the Dutch drove over the try line with ease after a maul was quickly formed.

A five-metre driving maul is tough to stop with seven men in the lineout, but the Germans found it impossible to stop nine in this game.

The success of this tactic will have been noted by Erasmus, and the first team that may be the recipients of this should South Africa adopt this tactic would be Ireland.

Irish forwards may soon have nightmares about the South African pack using this tactic, as the monstrous size of the Springbok forwards means that it would be an almost inevitable score once Erasmus’ side collect the ball from the lineout.

South Africa pride themselves on their scrum and their set piece, and this may be another weapon to add to their arsenal should it be employed by the Rainbow Nation. The Springboks collected 71 of 81 lineouts in the World Cup prior to the final against New Zealand, giving them an accuracy rate of 87.7%.

The five-metre lineout maul has already been seen as too powerful and advantageous to the attacking team, and it may just have been proven by Jones and his Dutch side.

And until there is a change to the laws, it will continue to be an incredible weapon for scoring tries, and so Erasmus should look to continue dominating set pieces. This tactic is perfect to ensure this happens.

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